Money

CBI urges Scottish politicians to stop squabbling and focus on economy



CBI Scotland has called on politicians of all parties to to focus on policies that will strengthen the economy and encourage investment.

The call, which comes ahead of the Scottish Budget, urges politicians to put the economy front and centre of the political debate in Scotland.

It stressed that success against key Scottish Government objectives, such as achieving net-zero carbon reduction, ensuring the benefits of increased prosperity are shared equally across society and funding quality public services, depend on having a strong, resilient and growing economy.

Greater investment in innovation, technology and skills, it said, must sit alongside initiatives to safeguard Scotland’s competitiveness, both within the UK and internationally.

The recent debate about ending the Uniform Business Rate has given rise to concern among businesses that Holyrood is losing sight of the big picture.

CBI Scotland director Tracy Black said: “With progress finally being made on the Withdrawal Agreement, we have an opportunity to refocus efforts on the domestic agenda and Scotland’s key economic challenges.

“The Scottish economy continues to stutter and that’s why we want politicians of all stripes to show leadership by committing to implementing the kind of solid, evidence-based economic policy that can deliver greater prosperity across the country.

“Business is absolutely clear that it wants politics out of the boardroom so that it can focus on what it does best: deliver jobs, higher wages and economic growth.

“To achieve that we need to put the political games and brinksmanship of the past few years to one side and start pulling in the same direction.

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“With the COP26 summit to be held in Glasgow later this year, the eyes of the world will be upon us.

“The Scottish business community is ready to play its part in showing a global audience that Scotland is a great place to live, work and do business – we’re asking our politicians to put their differences aside and focus on the twin goals of bringing greater investment to Scotland and strengthening our economy.”

In a submission to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, CBI Scotland proposes a series of key recommendations, ranging from immediate to long-term, to re-focus minds and kickstart the Scottish economy. These include:

  • Supporting upskilling and retraining with additional funding to ensure everyone can benefit from technological change in the workplace;
  • Retaining the Uniform Business Rate and bring the large business supplement into line with rest of UK to protect and increase investment;
  • Setting a target for 100% of the workforce to have basic digital skills by 2025 so all have the ability to thrive in an increasingly digital world;
  • Committing to no further divergence with the rest of the UK on income tax to support businesses in attracting talent to live and work in Scotland;
  • Setting a national housing target and allocate more funding for planning departments to improve speed of decision-making and home building.



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