SCC calls for the Scottish Government to deliver a Budget for business growth
Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), has called on the Scottish Government to deliver a “Budget for Business Growth” ahead of the Scottish Budget tomorrow.
In a letter to the cabinet secretary for finance and the economy, Kate Forbes, SCC has asked that the budget “prioritises economic recovery, slashes upfront business costs and creates a competitive environment for Scottish businesses”.
Dr Liz Cameron said: “Scotland’s economy is at a critical juncture and the Scottish Government should use this opportunity to put forward a Budget for Business Growth that will set Scotland on the path towards delivering the most competitive business environment in the UK that allows businesses to grow, create jobs and drive forward economic growth and prosperity.
“A return to growth, as economic forecasters have cautioned, is dependent on there being no return to restrictions, and this budget must provide businesses with the stability and certainty they need to build back business and consumer confidence in the weeks and months ahead.
“Scotland’s business community have put forward the practical recommendations that they want to see delivered in this Scottish Budget, which will enable them to emerge from this extremely challenging period stronger, more resilient and on a clear journey towards a strong return to economic growth in 2022.”
On Non-Domestic Rates, she added: “Our research consistently shows that Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) remain the main tax concern for Scotland’s businesses. It is essential that this budget not only confirms the Scottish Government’s commitment to undertake the NDR Revaluation that is due to take place in 2023 as planned, but that there is an extension of the current COVID-19 reliefs afforded to properties in the retail, leisure, and hospitality sectors into the 2022/23 financial year.
“Continued rates relief to these key sectors is vital to securing the recovery of Scotland’s high street, town and city centre economies which have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on businesses.”
On infrastructure and connectivity, Dr Cameron said that improving Scotland’s infrastructure and connectivity will provide strong foundations for Scotland’s businesses to build on and deliver a return to economic growth.
She urged that by prioritising improvements to superfast broadband, road, rail and air links across Scotland, the Scottish Government can help ensure an equal recovery that boosts business growth in every part of Scotland.
Dr Cameron said that the budget must consider the ongoing impact of the pandemic and travel restrictions on Scotland’s aviation and international travel sectors which support thousands of jobs, and which remain at significant risk. Scotland’s airports and international connectivity are vital to rebuilding supply chains and developing Scotland’s international trading capabilities. The Scottish Government should ensure targeted financial support will be made available to affected sectors to deliver a clear pathway to recovery.
On recruitment, rising business costs and supply chain, Dr Cameron commented: “Scotland’s businesses are still experiencing many challenges through rising cost prices, inflationary pressures, and recruitment difficulties. Therefore, investment in Scotland’s workforce through increased support for skills and training interventions to upskill and reskill employees at all levels is necessary to drive up business capacity and investment opportunities.
“Supply chain issues are still impacting on businesses ability to recover and scale up operations and Scotland’s businesses want to see a joined-up approach to recovery and tackling skills shortages from governments across the UK.
“This budget should seek to provide the necessary funding required to enable greater collaboration between government and industry to address the impact of ongoing skills shortages on Scotland’s supply chains.”