A FORMER SNP adviser has backed Labour at the next General Election.

Writing in The Herald, Benny Higgins – who once said he was a “big fan of Nicola Sturgeon” – said Scotland had “suffered from the political malaise created by the Tories in Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood".

The former chief executive of Tesco Bank served as the chair of the Scottish Government’s post-Covid Advisory Group on Economic Recovery and helped develop the implementation plan for the Scottish National Investment Bank.

But he was hired by shadow secretary of state for business Jonathan Reynolds last year to work on a survey of Scotland’s business opinions.

An SNP source said: “Benny Higgins has reportedly been employed by the Labour Party since last year.

"It comes as no surprise he has endorsed them.”

Higgins is also currently the executive chairman at Buccleuch, as well as the chairman of the National Galleries of Scotland, Sistema Scotland, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.

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He wrote in The Herald: “We need government to support and encourage businesses, not hinder them.

"It is precisely four years ago that I was completing my report for Scottish Government on economic recovery beyond the pandemic. All 25 recommendations were warmly welcomed and accepted. Most have barely been mentioned since then.

“Instead, the formation of one group after another, and the pursuit of one more review after another, has been viewed by politicians as an alternative to taking action. This forthcoming General Election puts the opportunity in our hands to say: ‘no more’.”

He added: “We now need political leadership that will adopt this principle. Keir Starmer and the Labour Party represent the only credible option.”

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Labour's shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: “Scottish Labour is delighted to gain the endorsement of Benny Higgins.

“Like many other experts and business people, Benny Higgins knows that Scotland needs change and that the SNP and the Tories cannot deliver it.

“It’s time for change and Scottish Labour can deliver it.”