These are the key steps Scottish firms want the next UK government to enact

“Each of those policy priorities can go a long way to deliver a strong platform for sustained growth and employment.”

The next UK government should prioritise economic growth and job-creation, according to a new report from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), which has published a 15-point list of recommendations.

The trade body, which says it is the leading Scottish business organisation and represents 12,000 firms across all sectors, has outlined its suggestions for all main political parties ahead of the general election on July 4.

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The SCC says it wants Westminster to establish a joint economic growth board, a partnership between business and government, within the first 100 days in office to oversee an ambitious programme of pro-enterprise and pro-growth policies, and amid concerns over the UK’s almost 11 million people of working age classed as economically active taking a toll on growth.

SCC boss Dr Liz Cameron says: 'The economy is a top three issue for UK voters, and the 12,0000 companies we represent are the drivers of economic growth and employ millions of people.' Picture: Julie Tinton Photography.SCC boss Dr Liz Cameron says: 'The economy is a top three issue for UK voters, and the 12,0000 companies we represent are the drivers of economic growth and employ millions of people.' Picture: Julie Tinton Photography.
SCC boss Dr Liz Cameron says: 'The economy is a top three issue for UK voters, and the 12,0000 companies we represent are the drivers of economic growth and employ millions of people.' Picture: Julie Tinton Photography.

Key priorities outlined by the SCC include a commitment to no new taxes or levies on business for the lifetime of the next parliament, investment in a green industrial strategy, boosting global trade, developing a skilled workforce, a detailed just transition plan for the oil and gas sector, and cutting VAT across the hospitality, leisure, and tourism sectors.

Dr Liz Cameron, director and chief executive of the SCC, said: “The country succeeds when business succeeds. That’s why we are urging the next UK government to work closely with the business community to deliver pro-growth policies to turbo-charge investment, innovation, and job-creation.

“The economy is a top three issue for UK voters, and the 12,0000 companies we represent are the drivers of economic growth and employ millions of people. We are calling for a clear focus on resolving the issues holding our economy back and stopping investment in jobs. Our 15-point policy plan means the next UK government can get to work on day one and give our members and our employees the confidence that the government backs business.

“Our members are clear that a joint economic growth board where business and UK government work in a meaningful, constructive partnership, can unlock growth and help support struggling sectors. Each of those policy priorities can go a long way to deliver a strong platform for sustained growth and employment.”

Meanwhile, new data from this year’s Business Barometer report published by The Open University in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce, has found that more than half of Scottish organisations are still reporting “worrying” skills shortages. While 56 per cent of firms north of the Border reported a lack of confidence in applying new artificial intelligence (AI), for example, employers agree that these skills are crucial to the growth and sustainability of UK businesses and the wider economy.

Anna Ashton Scott, head of skills at The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI, said: "While it’s encouraging to see Scottish businesses showing more confidence in applying AI technologies compared to their UK counterparts, more needs to be done to support the 56 per cent of organisations lacking confidence. Upskilling across all areas of the business, and not just within technical teams, can help to empower people and organisations to navigate the evolving data and AI landscape.”

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