4 September 2018
Commenting on the First Minister's Programme for Government announcement, Liz Cameron OBE, Director & Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
On International Trade & Exporting:
"Exporting continues to remain a key pillar of Scotland's economic growth strategy and the business community will be upbeat to hear the emphasis placed by the First Minister on expanding Scottish exports. We welcome the Scottish Government's approach to expanding the network of in-market specialists in overseas markets and tapping into the potential of business mentoring to increase exporting across the SME business base. With the global Chambers of Commerce Network comprising 12,000 Chambers across 100 countries, the reach and influence available to Scottish businesses is immense. The private sector stands ready to work in collaboration with the Government and its economic agencies to unlock the potential of international growth markets."
Business Competitiveness / Taxation:
"The devolution of Air Departure Tax continues to be a priority for our business members. We are heartened to see the Scottish Government reaffirm its commitment to reducing the overall burden by 50%, before complete abolition. But, we urge both the Scottish and UK Government to work together in haste to agree a timeline and reach a solution which works for business and delivers growth."
“On Non-Domestic Rates, SCC have welcomed many of the Scottish Government’s reforms taken from the Barclay Review. Although the move to three-yearly revaluations is welcome, Scottish Chambers of Commerce continues to call for the Scottish Government to be more ambitious in this regard, and bring forward the revaluation to 2021, in line with the English and Welsh NDR systems.”
On Digital & Infrastructure Investment:
"We have long called for increasing digital & infrastructure investment, making sure every business, home and consumer is connected, physically and digitally. Businesses across Scotland will welcome the Government's intention to increase infrastructure investment to internationally competitive levels. Scottish businesses, customers and our workforce rely on robust and reliable infrastructure, as the foundation which keeps our economy moving, and it is right to increase investment in this area. With digital innovation driving and transforming the economy, Scotland must continue to invest and keep up with our international competitors. With 100% coverage still to be achieved across Scotland, it is critical we ramp up the pace of fibre broadband delivery, guaranteeing every part of Scotland can benefit from the economic benefits of being connected. As well as investing in the basics and connecting homes and businesses, it's encouraging to see the Government investing in the Internet of Things and data-driven innovation, enabling Scotland to compete globally in these expanding fields."
On South of Scotland Enterprise Agency:
"We are pleased to see continued progress on the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency, which will act as an important enabler of local economic growth. Whilst the Government moves ahead to introduce the Bill to establish the new enterprise agency for the South of Scotland, it is critical the private sector and local communities continue to be engaged and involved, fostering a shared commitment to the agency and ensuring the economic benefits are shared across the region."
"Supporting businesses to improve their cyber-resilience and online security is an increasing area of priority for businesses across the globe. We welcome the Scottish Government's recognition of the threats to businesses of cyber-crime and we are encouraged to see the £500m fund announced today, which will act to prevent cyber-crime and prepare more businesses to deal with the challenges of cyber-security, whilst continuing to buy and trade online."
On Workplace Diversity:
"We welcome the First Minister's commitment to workplace diversity, and today's announcements to support more women to return to work and to provide additional training and support, are welcome contributions to addressing the skills shortages and gaps in many sectors. We have already seen the major benefits a diverse workforce has across our membership through our dedicated support programmes such as Women's Business Mentoring and we look forward to sharing and utilising our expertise with the Scottish Government to increase the participation of women in the private sector."
Press Office: Shane Taylor, Business Intelligence, SCC, 0779-515-8137