Mr McLeish was speaking to the Glenrothes Industrial Association, as part of a series of meetings with industry groups throughout Scotland.
Mr McLeish said:
'My message today is simple - a Scottish parliament will mean new opportunities for Scottish businesses. Scotland has a history to be
'It is clear from my recent meetings with a large number of
industry groups that they are becoming increasingly aware of these
opportunities and are preparing to grasp them. A Scottish parliament
will act as a springboard for an ambitious country with its sights set
'Opportunity Scotland lies just around the corner. Scottish
industry is getting ready to make the most of it. We are going to do all we can to help them. I would not be lending my full support to any
proposals if I thought for a moment that they would adversely affect
Scottish jobs, Scottish wealth and our productive economy. A Scottish
parliament will be a business friendly parliament.
'It is not just a question of what impact a devolved parliament
will have on the business community, but what effect the business
community can have on the devolved parliament. Dialogue is the key.
'Fife has been a beneficiary from inward investment projects in
recent years. Shin Ho Tech creating 280 jobs here in Glenrothes.
Apricot Computers to create another 300 jobs in Glenrothes. Hyundai
will create 2000 jobs near Dunfermline. Canon to create a further 270
jobs in Glenrothes.
'Since May 1 we have announced significant inward investment projects. This shows that overseas investors realise that they have nothing to lose, and much to gain, from devolution.
'Devolution will provide a higher international profile for Scotland and reinforce the appreciation and image of Scottish products, our skilled work force and investment potential.
'The devolved administration will be closer to the ground and therefore better informed and more responsive to local needs. This will benefit business as much as anyone.
'The local economies of our European neighbours have reaped the benefits of devolution and business here is now viewing the new
Scotland with a great deal of optimism. That optimism is well placed.'