The Scottish Region's 2007 Annual Dinner was held on Thursday 27th September 2007 in the Airth Castle Hotel and Spa Resort, one of Scotland's leading hotels and as in previous years, guests were able to enjoy pre-dinner drinks at the wine reception sponsored by First.
During the wine reception the Institutes's National Chairman, Stephen Rinsler presented special certificates awarded by the Scottish Region Committee to First Aberdeen and First Scot Rail in recognition of their help and assistance both of these companies have provided to the Scottish Region. This assistance has been in the form of provision of accommodation for meetings and events for many years. Following the presentations, members and guests proceeded to the dining room where they were welcomed by the regional chairman, John Fender. After the grace, given by a committee member George Brown, an excellent five-course meal was served.
A view of the Airth Castle dining room in the Glassgouse before the 2007 dinner got underway.
© John G. Fender 2011
After the interval, members and guests were addressed by the guest speaker, Mr Stuart Stevenson, MSP, the Scottish Minister for at Transport, Infrastructure and Climate change. In his address, Mr Stevenson said that the new Scottish Government was keen to speak to all sectors and encourage everyone to be involved. He held a unique role in that has portfolio includes transport infrastructure and climate change as well as transport and that the Scottish government has set ambitious targets to achieve by 2050 in terms of emissions as part of it's climate change strategy.
The Scottish government has plans to improve the Scottish economy and has identified five strategic objectives as part of the process. these include improved education, better health provision, improvements to the environment and more sustainability. An example of the improvements that can be made is by linking tune unities with better transport and earlier in the day it was announced that there would be major upgrades to the Glasgow Edinburgh railway line and other lines in the area.
The Scottish economy is also a subject that will be getting more attention as economic growth in Scotland has been below the national average for the past few years. The Scottish Government has set a target for growth in the Scottish economy to reach the same rate as the UK economy by 2011 and afterwards to perform better than the rest of the UK. Improving public transport is also important and projects to remove bottlenecks in the transport network will be promoted. Climate change is the most serious a threat facing Scotland and the Scottish and Government plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. This will require an review of strategic projects and it more or consideration and planning will have to be given to the country's infrastructure needs.
Following their ministers address the business speaker, Mr Charles Hammond, Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports plc told his audience that ports were a vital to the country's transport and logistics and pointed out that 30% of the UK's gross domestic product passed through ports. For Scotland the percentage is higher and demand for port facilities in his growing. To meet that demand Forth Ports plc has invested heavily in providing supply chain opportunities and is working closely with its customers.
As an example, the nearby Port of Grangemouth has seen significant investment both in infrastructure and staff. Investment in staff is something that the company views as very important and many employees are now also shareholders. The company offers extensive training schemes leading to qualifications that give employees greater opportunities. By investing heavily and providing better more efficient services the company can contribute to the development of Scotland and help it realise its potential.
The final speaker for the evening was Mr Scott Glynn who gave an informal address that covered many topics ranging from his days as a rugby player through to some domestic situations he has experienced. He also regaled the audience with some observations on life in general. These were all delivered in a most humorous a fashion.
Rounding the evening off was the prize draw in support of the charity, Transaid, presented by the Scottish Regional officer, David Reid. this raised £1750!
Report by John Fender.
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