Six Scottish business groups reveal biggest Brexit concerns

EUThe Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, Scottish Financial Enterprise, Scottish Council for Development & Industry, Confederation of British Industry and Institute of Directors have collectively set out the most pressing issues they feel must be tackled if Scottish businesses are to successfully negotiate the fallout from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

The announcement follows the Scottish business groups’ talks with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at her EU Business Summit at Bute House earlier this week.

The 6 business groups said their most pressing concerns were:

  • Access to the European Union markets, currently worth over £11 billion to Scottish businesses;
  • Access to a talented, skilled workforce, including the clear protection of EU nationals currently studying, living and working in Scotland, because their skills are crucial to the success of our businesses;
  • Support for non-UK EU nationals who run businesses in Scotland;
  • Following through on planned infrastructure projects like airport expansion and digital broadband rollout;
  • Maintaining the competitive edge of Scottish business by reviewing “domestic” areas of control including supportive taxation rates for businesses.
  • In a joint statement the groups said: “It is our belief that by delivering on these priorities, we will boost business confidence, and send the signal globally, that Scotland continues to be an attractive destination to start, build and grow a business.”

    The statement also urged Scottish businesses are showing and to continue to collaborate and identify the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead and called on the Scottish and UK Governments to “demonstrate leadership and maintain joint working relationships”.

    Collectively, the six business bodies said: “Across Scotland, the businesses we represent are considering the opportunities and challenges that will arise from the outcome of the EU Referendum. Collectively, we represent the broadest spectrum of businesses including private sector firms, public sector and the social economy. Our members hold diverse views on the European Union but the need to drive prosperity - by preserving jobs, attracting investment and driving economic growth for Scotland - is what brings us together.

    “To businesses, we applaud the immediate response: businesses doing what they do best by maintaining ‘business as usual’ when trading with European Union markets, and exploring the possible opportunities that lie ahead, both in European markets and globally. We underline our belief that Scotland is a great place to do business and that we are, ‘open for business.’ Our organisations will continue to use our resources and connections to promote this message.

    “Within the business community there is unanimous agreement that we need strong leadership and clarity of the timeframe for next steps from both Governments, in order to create more stability and to maintain business, consumer and investor confidence. We recommend that both Governments establish areas of common interest, making sure positive outcomes are achieved.

    “We are committed to working in collaboration with the Scottish & UK Governments to secure the best deal for Scottish businesses in the negotiations that lie ahead. These negotiations will determine our future trading relationships with the European Union and will also influence how we trade with the rest of the world.”

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