PracticePeople In PracticeAccountant candidate faces Scottish Parliament vote this Thursday

Accountant candidate faces Scottish Parliament vote this Thursday

From accountant to politician may seem a long journey but Jim Mather, SNP candidate in Thursday's Ayr by-election for the Scottish parliament, is hoping to make that leap.

From spreadsheets to hustings, Mather has trod a dynamic path working for IBM and running his own hi-tech incubator outfit. But his focus now is on entering public life and his clarion call for Ayr is jobs.

More than that he believes Ayr and Scotland is well placed to serve the kind of companies that figure so heavily in his own background.

In the early 1960s Mather began his working life as a trainee accountant with whiskey company Chivas Brothers. After qualifying with the Scots ICA he joined IBM working in Scotland.

When IBM eventually produced their personal computers Mather saw it as an opportunity to start his own business which sold and serviced PCs for business customers in Scotland. By 1994 the company was employing 140 people and had reached annual sales of £25m.

He then sold the company to start Startech, his incubator project, which he has since left behind to concentrate on politics.

Mather says he wants to see the business birth rate in Scotland rise but is also concerned to see investment in research and development also rise.

And Scotland is a good place to nurture a crop of new technology companies.’It is extremely well placed. We have first class universities, we are English speaking,’ he says but goes on to stress that what Scotland really needs is more fiscal control if it is to stop looking like a ‘branch economy’.

First step along this road would be control of corporate tax rates, bringing them down to make Scotland more competitive.

This would support his other main proposal which is to attract more investment north of the border and Ayr in particular.

However, Mather is competing in a Tory stronghold and is currently running second in the polls. It maybe some time before this accountant gets to take his seat.

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