Inverness Courier: City Chamber Celebrated at Holyrood

-By Calum Macleod, SPP

WITH a century-and-a-quarter of experience to draw on, Inverness Chamber of Commerce was able to offer some friendly advice to the relative youngster that is the Scottish Parliament.

The organisation’s team, including chief executive Stewart Nicol and president Liam Christie, visited Holyrood for a special reception sponsored by Inverness and Nairn MSP Fergus Ewing to celebrate the chamber’s 125th anniversary.

The Scottish Parliament marks its 20th anniversary next year, which Mr Nicol pointed out in his address made it a “mere youth” in comparison.

However, while Mr Nicol acknowledged much has been achieved, there were still areas for improvement, one of those being too much of a central belt focus within the parliament.

Mr Nicol also used the opportunity to raise concerns about transport infrastructure in the north. Halfway through the time period allocated to dualling 80 miles of the A9, only six per cent of that distance – just five miles – had been upgraded, while the Highland Main Line remained “not fit for purpose.”

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to have a closer working relationship with business, he concluded with a plea for all in business and politics to work together and demonstrate strong leadership.

“I believe all of us in this room have the capacity to do that and in doing so will achieve great things for the city of Inverness, the whole of the Highlands and Islands and the nation of Scotland,” he said.

Almost 50 guests attended the reception in the parliament building.

In addition to MSPs, including north MSPs Kate Forbes, Edward Mountain and David Stewart, other attendees included Highlands and Islands Enterprise chief executive Charlotte Wright, representatives from chamber groups from across Scotland, and members of the wider business community.