Holyrood and Westminster must "put politics aside" say industry chiefs

The Scottish and UK Governments have been urged to "put politics to one side" and work together to breathe new life into the nation's flagging economy by business leaders.

Liz Cameron called on Holyrood and Westminster to work together

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has raised concerns that Scotland may be left behind as a new UK industrial strategy is devised because many of the issues are devolved.

Chief executive Liz Cameron today told said that firms north of the border must not be sidelined.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

"Scotland and the UK continue to lag behind competitor nations in terms of our productivity," Ms Cameron said today.

"We need to restore a focus on ongoing work-based learning and re-skilling of older workers in order to ensure that our businesses have access to the talents they need to grow and succeed. This is particularly important, given the demographics of low unemployment and an ageing workforce.

“Once this General Election has been decided, there exists a golden opportunity for the Scottish and UK Governments to co-ordinate their activity as never before, putting politics to one side and focusing on how to build the success of our businesses.”

Prime Minister Theresa May last week used a keynote speech in Edinburgh to pledge an end to the "devolve and forget" style of politics in recent years and said the UK Government would make greater use of "reserved" issues to shape Scottish policy-making.

Ms Cameron added: "All parties in the election have talked about a new Industrial Strategy as a key part of their economic agenda for the next Parliament. If this is pursued on a UK basis, then it is vital that it takes full account of the devolved settlement and that action is co-ordinated by the Scottish and UK Governments to ensure that Scottish firms can take full advantage of a national focus on the key drivers of business success.

"Our businesses need an environment that enables them to identify opportunities and respond to them in an agile manner. We need a national industrial strategy to set out measures to improve our infrastructure and connectivity, to widen our access to key skills and talents, to identify actions to incentivise and reward positive behaviours and to ensure that we have the most competitive environment to do business.

"However any UK strategy must recognise that many of those levers are under the control of the Scottish Government and therefore it must be fully engaged if Scottish businesses are to benefit from the strategy to the fullest extent."