Scottish Council for Development and Industry

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The SCDI is a leading business lobbyist in Scotland. It set up the think tank the Scottish Council Foundation in 1999 as the Scottish Parliament was being created.


The Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) says it is 'an independent, membership-driven economic development organisation. It was created in 1931. Today it is supported by around 1200 members across Scotland’s manufacturing and service sectors, universities and colleges, local government and enterprise networks, trade associations and professional bodies, arts organisations, churches and trade unions. As an entirely independent organisation, SCDI’s membership network seeks to strengthen Scotland’s economic competitiveness and sustainable prosperity by influencing Government policy at all levels (in Scotland, the UK, the European Union or globally).'[1]

Today, SCDI is engaged in public policy issues, economic research and business information. It coordinates a network of 200 young engineers’ clubs to encourage young students interested in engineering, science and technology. SCDI also organises a sizeable programme of events from flagship conferences and dinners to informal networking opportunities.[2]

Corporate networks

The SCDI host an important series of events that readily attract sponsorship and participation by corporations. These events create space for exchanges betweenlobbyists and decision makers in Scotland.

The SCDI's parliamentary affairs meetings are regarded by lobbyists as more useful than similar events on the somewhat crowded corporate circuit. Between 1998 and 2003 SCDI hosted over 30 MSP member meetings, and numerous political 'Influencers' dinners with elected representative and officials. The influencers dinners have been addressed by Jack McConnell (currently First Minister, then in his capacity as minister for education), Jim Wallace (deputy First Minister), Wendy Alexander (then minister for communities), Sarah Boyack (in capacity as transport minister), Helen Liddell (former Secretary of State for Scotland, then a minister of state for education), George Foulkes (then minister of state in the Scotland Office), Brian Wilson (twice, minister of state at the DTI), both Alex Salmond and John Swinney as leaders of the SNP opposition in Scotland, and John McKinnion, the Scottish Executive's chief planner. In addition to these exchanges the SCDI organises trade missions with the active participation of prominent politicians (including Helen Liddell, Secretary of State for Scotland), receptions, breakfast and lunch meetings with elected Scottish representatives in Edinburgh, London and Brussels and senior officials in the Scottish Executive.

The SCDI's annual forum in 2002, examined the theme of Corporate Social Responsibility, and was addressed by Jack McConnell, First Minister, and Douglas Alexander, then minister of state at the DTI with responsibility for CSR. In 2004 the annual forum was again addressed by Jack McConnell. This event also featured presentations from senior public servants such as Peter Lederer, chair of VisitScotland, Professor Wilson Sibbett, chair of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee, John Elvidge, Scotland's most senior civil servant as Permanent Secretary at the Scottish Executive, and Mairi MacPherson chair of the influential Scottish Executive strategy unit. [3].

In addition to all this activity the SCDI stated on its website: 'There are, of course, many other SCDI events and meetings at which politicians are guests or participants but these are not listed'. The SCDI instigated a 'Meet the MSP' series of events where up to thirty members can interface with MSPs. Over thirty such meetings have taken place since March 2000.

According to Hartwig Pautz 'This lobby group is made up of some of the largest corporations in Scotland. There is also 'a smattering of trade unions' on the SCDI's executive board.[4] It seeks to 'strengthen Scotland's economic competitiveness and sustainable prosperity by influencing Government policy at all levels'.' [5]


SCDI Board



SCDI Executive

External links

SCDI website