Oral PQ on HIE Board

28 February 2017


Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands) : The Crerar report recommends retention of the HIE board, but it would be subject to the strategic board and therefore to Scottish Government control.

HIE was set up to benefit the Highlands and Islands.

Will the cabinet secretary listen to public opinion?

Also, can he explain to Parliament why Government party MSPs had access to the Crerar report, and therefore so did the press, before other members of Parliament?


Keith Brown : 

I have said a number of times that I am willing to listen to different shades of opinion; I have made the point repeatedly.

 What I have not had yet are the direct conversations that would support that listening exercise. I have contacted the other parties to see whether they want to have that discussion, and I am more than happy to have it in advance of the statement that I will give when I come back to Parliament in the next few weeks to say what the outcome is and what our view is on the governance review by Lorne Crerar.

Lorne Crerar has undertaken a tremendous piece of work; he did not undertake it under the direction of ministers.

He was asked to do it and he has discussed the matter with other agency chairs. It was broad-based work that, importantly, has tried to take forward a number of things that the other parties in Parliament all say they are committed to, including raising Scotland’s economic performance and making sure that we do things in a much more collaborative way among the agencies.

I would have thought that we could, if we have that as a starting point, certainly agree on some other issues around the nature of the strategic board and how collaboration can best work.

I am more than happy to have that discussion with Rhoda Grant and other members.

 I have made the offer before. It is a sincere offer, and I hope that members will take it up.