Scottish Government unveils new deal for business plan to deliver economic wellbeing and growth

Scottish Government unveils new deal for business plan to deliver economic wellbeing and growth

Neil Gray MSP

The Scottish Government has unveiled its strategic implementation plan to reinforce its cooperation with the business sector, based on recommendations from the New Deal for Business Group.

This initiative, geared towards bolstering policy formulation and creating a wellbeing economy, will unfold over the next 18 months.

Actions include a forum to oversee the impact of regulations on industry and a full review of how government policy is developed to ensure businesses are consulted at all stages – particularly when new regulation is a potential outcome. Work will also start immediately on helping more parents and carers to get back into work.

Other measures include:

  • Keeping Non-Domestic Rates reforms under review to ensure they support businesses and communities
  • Developing new ways to assess the impact of regulations on business
  • Ensuring the right business voices are involved in policy development
  • Seeking views on health and work, flexible working and just transition plans from across the business sector
  • Outlining and measuring how business contributes to a wellbeing economy
  • Assessing the type of support businesses are seeking to help government better understand their needs

Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray said: “The New Deal for Business presents a new and exciting long-term commitment to partnership, to create the conditions where business feels empowered to invest, to innovate and to provide good jobs.

“By ensuring an open and honest dialogue between business and government we can provide certainty and consistency for business across Scotland, from small high street firms to the largest multinational companies.

“I am grateful for the commitment shown by business to the New Deal and to group members for developing the recommendations which are now agreed actions. Only by working together can we turn the dial on business-government relations and deliver a wellbeing economy, creating the best possible place for business, people and planet.”

Dr Poonam Malik, head of investments at the University of Strathclyde, who co-chairs the group with Mr Gray, said: “Listening actively to business and working in meaningful partnership on common goals will reap rewards and grow our economy ambitiously for the benefit of all of Scotland.

“Having government and business in sync with each other, to deliver growth for our nation with a culture of collaboration - being open and inclusive, with innovative and creative thinking - will overcome the main challenges and break down barriers to high productivity, bringing investment and creating high-quality jobs.

“I thank Group members for all their hard work and commitment to get to this point, and for their continued support to keep up the momentum and remain motivated to see this Plan deliver with action.”

David Lonsdale, Scottish Retail Consortium director and a member of the New Deal for Business Group, said: “Scottish Ministers have moved swiftly over recent months to engage and listen to business and the tone and thrust of the New Deal Implementation Plan is encouraging.

“Our suggestions on regulation – resuscitating the Regulatory Review Group, properly implementing impact assessments at the inception of new initiatives, and clarity over the regulatory pipeline – are front and centre in the implementation plan and are measures all businesses can get behind.

“A return to good regulatory habits is crucial as several potential measures are either in the pipeline or under consideration, including new rules on selling foods in-store which are high in salt and sugar, restrictions on alcohol marketing in stores, and reviewing whether to apply fair work conditionality to licences to operate and to eligibility for business rates reliefs.

“Ultimately, the manner with which new regulations are developed and tax decisions are made, and whether ministers both listen and act on the reasonable concerns of industry, will define whether this marks a step change in relations between business and government.”

CEO and director of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Dr Liz Cameron CBE, commented: “After many months of constructive engagement, we now have a practical plan to implement to improve the relationship between business and the Scottish Government.

“Business will be looking for ambitious pro-growth policies which reduce the cost of doing business and help us to grow, create jobs, and invest.

“It is now time for actions to back up the intent if we are to tackle the challenges facing business and the people that power them.”

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