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Chamber and committees

Economy and Fair Work Committee

Work programme priorities

Letter from the Convener to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy - 30 August 2021

Dear Ms Forbes,

The Economy and Fair Work Committee met this week to consider its work programme priorities. Following discussion, it was agreed that I should write to you seeking early written updates in a number of areas.

Common Frameworks

The Committee has been advised that four Common Frameworks, within our remit, are expected —

Public procurement;
Late payments on commercial transactions;
Services; and
Mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
Public Procurement

In January, following sight of a confidential draft common framework, the predecessor committee requested details of any consultation carried out by the Scottish Government and sight of consultation responses. A response is still awaited. Further, it is understood that the UK Government published a provisional agreement in March. I would welcome clarification over whether this was shared with the Scottish Parliament and the committee would be grateful for a response to the predecessor’s request without further delay and an update more generally on this framework.

Late Payments (Commercial Transactions), Services, and Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications

The committee would be grateful for an update on these common frameworks including expected timescales.

Enterprise and Skills Review Board

The Committee understands that the ESR Strategic Board receives an Annual Analysis report using indicators from the National Performance Framework, aligned to the Board’s key areas of focus: productivity, equality, wellbeing and sustainability. The report is not published. The committee would be grateful for sight of the latest report (or a summary thereof).

Scottish Government ownership stakes

In the Economic Recovery Implementation Plan, the Scottish Government committed to establishing a short-life working group to scope the capability required to manage government ownership stakes in private businesses, consider delivery models and report findings and recommendations in Autumn 2020. Please provide a progress update.

Financing Scotland’s Recovery Working Group

The Committee requests an update on how the Scottish Government is responding to the report of the working group chaired by Benny Higgins on Financing Scotland’s Recovery.

Review of Statutory Debt Solutions

In January, the then Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills wrote to the predecessor committee advising a three-stage approach to a general review of statutory debt solutions in Scotland. The committee would be grateful for a progress report.

Reaching 100% (R100) programme

Reliable broadband coverage has never been more important. The committee would be grateful for an update on the R100 programme including the roll-out of the Central and South lots, progress of the North lot contract and uptake of the Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Town Centre Review and Retail Strategy

The committee would be grateful for further information on the Scottish Government’s response to the town centre review. It would also be grateful for further information on the publication of the Scottish Government’s retail strategy and the timings for both.

I appreciate a response to these requests will require co-ordination across a number of different policy areas. I look forward to a response by 22 September in advance of our planned evidence session with you on 29 September.

Kind regards

Claire Baker MSP