International Business Connections

– in the Scottish Parliament on 19th January 2012.

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Photo of Colin Beattie Colin Beattie Scottish National Party

4. To ask the First Minister what progress is being made in building international business connections. (S4F-00407)

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I have already mentioned the fact that I will officially open the headquarters of the global financial services company FNZ in Edinburgh later today. I hope that that will be recognised and welcomed across the chamber.

On Tuesday, at the world future energy summit in Abu Dhabi, I signed an agreement with His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the chief executive of the leading alternative energy company Masdar. It is the first agreement of its kind between Masdar and a nation and will lead to significant collaboration, resulting in investment in low-carbon projects, development opportunities and a partnership to boost Scottish universities’ research into renewable energy.

Photo of Colin Beattie Colin Beattie Scottish National Party

I welcome both those developments. Does the First Minister agree that Westminster politicians should support the Scottish Government’s efforts to attract investment to Scotland instead of pettily fearmongering that there is uncertainty about the referendum—a claim for which they have been unable to produce a single shred of evidence?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

I am beginning to get somewhat perplexed by Opposition politicians in the Parliament telling me that they are concerned about unemployment and investment in Scotland while the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer—supported in this, as they are in so much else, by the Labour spokesman at Westminster—try to damage investment in Scotland.

Therefore, we should all be grateful to the widely respected Channel 4 news factcheck blog—which is not, incidentally, owned by the Scottish Government or Alex Salmond—which, this week, totally demolished the claims of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It pointed out not only that Scotland punches way above its weight in attracting international investment, but that that percentage is increasing and that, last year, for the first time, Scotland attracted more international investment jobs than the City of London. It concludes:

“Alex Salmond ... is right to claim Scotland is a bonnie investment. And according to the companies we spoke to, the matter of Scottish independence is of little concern.”

I think that the Scottish people would rather take the word of Channel 4 factcheck than any unionist politician, when they look at their self-interest and how they are prepared to attempt to damage Scotland’s economic prospects to pursue a political argument.