Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work

The Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work , Keith Brown MSP, will become the first senior politician to address the Scottish Wholesale Association’s Annual Conference when he speaks to wholesalers at Crieff this Friday.

Brown recently secured a new Cabinet post in the Scottish Government, moving from Infrastructure, Investment and Cities to the newly-created brief for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work. His broad-ranging portfolio includes the Scottish economy, infrastructure investment and increasing productivity, fair work , Scottish Enterprise, innovation, trade and inward investment, and employability programmes. He also has responsibility for veterans and is a former Marine.

Kate Salmon, executive director of the Scottish Wholesale Association, said: “The public always say they want politicians to have a hinterland beyond politics and as a former Marine  who served in the Falklands Keith certainly has that.

“Keith is the first Cabinet Minister to address the Scottish Wholesale Association conference and we are keen to see Government recognition of the importance of the wholesale sector and a commitment to pro-active engagement with wholesalers in future,” she added.

“The Association wants to see an improvement of the business environment and a recognition of the cumulative effect measures such as the living wage, auto enrolment and business rates have on businesses.

“Wholesalers, whether in cash and carry depots, via retail outlets or through foodservice delivery to restaurants and schools, are at the heart of our communities so there is a wide range of issues which impacts on our businesses and workforce. We want to see the Scottish Government focus on specific issues which affect us such as consolidation of alcohol licensing and reform of business rates but we also understand the importance of improving standards in education and infrastructure delivery.

“Our members are playing a crucial role in Scotland's food and drink success story and there are lots of areas where we can work in partnership with the Scottish Government so we’re delighted to welcome Keith Brown to our Annual Conference and look forward to forging a strong working relationship with him and his colleagues in the coming months."

The Scottish Wholesale Association’s Annual Conference takes place at Crieff Hydro (June 10-12).