Two of Scotland's leading Financial Entreprenuers today endorsed the SNP as the best party to handle the economy - just as Labour were trying to stir up fear by saying the opposite.
Martin Gilbert, the chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, and Jim Spowart, founder of several banks including Intelligent Finance, Direct Line and Standard Life Bank, both said Alex Salmond deserved to be re-elected First Minister on May 5.
Mr Gilbert, who was last week named chief executive of the year at the Business Insider/PWC Scotland Plc Awards, said:
"I am pretty pragmatic when it comes to who runs the country where I live and started my career and have a simple view - I want to see policies in action that create a more financially responsible and stronger Scotland. I know Alex Salmond wants that too.
"I've really enjoyed working with the First Minister over the last few years and agree with him that there has never been a better time for Scotland to become more responsible for the way the country supports itself. I have been impressed with his vision for the future and believe he should serve as First Minister for a second term to continue to push for growth, job creation and better public services."
Mr Gilbert now joins other leading businessmen such as David Murray, Jim McColl and Brian Souter in coming out publicly to say Alex Salmond is the best person to manage Scotland’s economy for the next five years.
Now Mr Spowart has joined them - a particularly welcome endorsement as he backed Labour in 2007. Mr Spowart said:
"I was very involved in trying to prevent the virtual monopoly position
the UK Government allowed Lloyds to achieve in Scotland's banking market,
and was impressed by the actions and analysis of the Scottish Government -
a position vindicated by this month’s banking interim report.
"I have no intention of getting involved in politics, but believe the
current administration has demonstrated knowledge and credibility in
delivering a positive economic policy, and that it has earned the
confidence of the vast swathe of Scotland's business community."
Perhaps someone should tell Scottish Labour, who this morning attempted to relaunch their unpopular negative campaign by going even more negative with an attack on Salmond. Iain Gray said that an SNP government would harm investment…..well our most successful investors don’t agree and I imagine they know more about it than he does.
Job creators are backing the SNP because the government has show itself to be enthusiastic about business through making rates fairer and improving planning. Salmond personally involves himself in deals to boost Scottish jobs and business – for example he drove the establishment of a Scottish investment bank to provide capital for SMEs. We have been able to send this strong message to business while also pursuing a far more progressive social justice agenda that previous administrations, for example in making prescriptions free, freezing council tax, increasing apprenticeships and ending PFI to keep the private sector our of public services like the NHS.
This is why the SNP can now claim to speak for all of Scotland.
Most of the businessmen who endorse the SNP want the Scottish parliament to have power over the economy, especially corporate taxes and improved borrowing powers. Iain Gray's party actively worked to stop Scotland getting the sort of economic teeth we need to grow our wealth, improve our infrastructure and create the conditions for high quality jobs. They prefer George Osborne to make decisions about the Scottish economy than our own government.
Gray claims he can somehow conjure up jobs and “eradicate youth unemployment” without these powers. But youth unemployment was not eradicated when Labour was in power in Westminster and pursued polices that wrecked the economy.
Come May 5, the voters will judge by action, not weasel words.