Scotland’s mid-market business leaders’ Budget priorities

Scotland's mid-market business leaders' Budget priorities

Stuart Preston

As the Chancellor prepares his Spring Budget, new research has revealed the policy areas that Scottish mid-market business leaders hope to see prioritised.

The Grant Thornton UK LLP’s latest Business Outlook Tracker found that incentives to support low carbon business strategies and incentives for capital investment were the joint top priorities for the country (34%), reflecting the significant push for environmentally friendly investment in Scotland.

With so much attention being paid to the Levelling Up agenda over the last few months, following the mini-budget in September, measures to Level Up the economy, with more devolved powers across the regions, was found to be the next top priority for the Scottish mid-market (32%).

The rapid adoption of digital technology during the pandemic proved the benefits of digital transformation for business and built a new foundation for the usability and functionality of digital tools. The focus on this agenda remains, as measures to support digital transformation was the third top priority for business leaders (28%).

This focus on digital is also reflected in the market’s investment priorities, with 70% of the businesses surveyed planning to invest, either more or the same amount, into technology over the next six months.

Though the market continues to grapple with high prices, and businesses face the likely loss of energy support and the impending hike in corporation tax in April, the majority (68%) of the Scotland mid-market respondents to the research are confident that the government will provide the necessary support for businesses in the Budget.

Stuart Preston, partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP in Scotland, said: “It’s really encouraging that Scottish businesses see the opportunities in Net Zero and are prioritising green growth, which certainly reflects the push for environmentally friendly investment here.

“Further commitment from the Government for the Levelling Up agenda ranked highly too - too many places in need didn’t succeed last time, while an intent to provide targeted and specific grants to support the low-carbon revolution in our region would be a worthy investment in the future.

“Adoption of digital technology is also key for Scotland – which has a burgeoning tech sector. The pandemic accelerated a fundamental shift in how we work, underpinned by a greater reliance on technology and the need to ‘go digital’. In many cases, digital transformation led to improved efficiency, new routes to market and greater collaboration.

“The mid-market now has the potential to build on, and accelerate, its digital journey and we need to ensure the momentum around this agenda does not slow.”

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