SCC Challenges Next UK Government to Deliver for Scotland's Businesses
Making the Voice of Business Heard
- There must be an early deal on the future of EU workers.
- Scotland’s businesses must have full tariff-free access to the EU Single Market.
- Scotland, and Scottish business, must be fully represented in EU negotiations.
- Business rates cuts must take precedence over corporation tax cuts.
- National Insurance Contributions should be used to support investment in skills.
- VAT should be temporarily reduced.
The Operation of the UK Government in Scotland
- Create a modern and accessible Scotland Office.
- Develop a new partnership between the Department for International Trade and Scottish business.
- Ensure that the Industrial Strategy benefits the whole of the UK.
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce network has published its business priorities ahead of the UK General Election. During the next five weeks, Scotland’s biggest business network will be focusing on three key areas: Brexit, taxation and the role of the UK Government in Scotland.
Launching the Chambers’ issues paper, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“The voice of Scottish business must be heard during this General Election and, whatever the outcome, the next UK Government must listen and act on these business priorities. Three major elections in three years, coupled with two game changing referendums, is not exactly the kind of stability that Scotland’s businesses had been hoping for, but this latest election provides a vital opportunity to focus the attention of politicians on the issues that really matter.
“Obviously the reason a General Election has been called in the first place derives from the outcome of last year’s EU referendum. While Scotland’s firms are getting on with business as usual, they are clear that they expect the next Government to deliver an early deal on the rights of EU citizens working in our economy and, likewise, UK workers based in the EU. They are also looking for progress on delivering tariff free access to the EU single market, with a minimum of regulatory barriers. We also believe that the particular interests of the Scottish economy need to be represented during the Brexit negotiations and we want to see the next UK Government provide a defined role for Scotland and our businesses in the negotiating process.
“In the midst of debate around Europe and Scotland’s constitutional future, our aspiring politicians must not be allowed to forget the fact that the Scottish economy is underperforming the UK as a whole and that there may be prolonged challenges in terms of rising inflation and threats to levels of consumer demand. That is why we believe that our next Government must look to reduce taxation in order to ease the cost burden on businesses and provide a boost to consumer demand, for example by temporarily cutting the main rate of VAT and by reducing VAT permanently for our hospitality businesses.
“Finally, the UK Government must look to reinvent the way it serves Scotland, with the Scotland Office opened up into an accessible route to accessing the range of services available from the UK Government; better direct support from the Department for International Trade; and full integration and co-operation between the Scottish and UK Governments in developing a new UK-wide industrial strategy.
“Politicians of all parties must remember that it is Scotland’s businesses that are the creators of jobs, wealth and growth in our economy. The policies of the political parties can and must reinvigorate our business success, deliver a Brexit that works for our economy, and place Scotland back on the road to growth.”