Nicola Sturgeon to attend London ‘Burns Supper’ to champion Scottish business

Nicola Sturgeon is to attend a Burns Supper in London with more than 200 business leaders to highlight Scotland’s financial services sector.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to attend a Burns Supper in London championing Scotland's financial services sector. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

The First Minister will be hosted by the Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin at Mansion House on Monday evening.

Some of the business leaders who will be in attendance include chief financial officer of Zurich Insurance Group George Quinn, chief executive of M&G Prudential John Foley and ASOS chairman Brian McBride.

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The event will mark the launch of a prospectus designed to promote the strengths and opportunities presented by the financial services industry in Scotland.

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The prospectus was published in October 2018, having been created by members of Scotland’s financial services industry, Scottish Financial Enterprise and Scottish Development International, with input from the UK Government.

Within the document, there is a list entitled “10 reasons why Scotland is a good fit for your business”.

Low set-up business operating costs, the offer of financial support from “a range of government bodies” and one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe were cited as among the key reasons for a business to invest in the country.

It also highlighted property and salary costs being “up to 40% less” than in London.

Access to a “highly skilled and adaptable workforce” was also outlined, along with “some of the most business-friendly labour market regulations in Europe”.

Ms Sturgeon suggested the prospectus demonstrates that Scotland plays a key role in the UK’s financial services sector.

She said: “This prospectus is a first in several different ways. It is the first joint prospectus between government agencies and industry, showing the genuine strength and depth of partnership around the financial sector in Scotland.

“It is also the first sectoral prospectus promoted under the Scotland Is Now brand, deliberately linking the quality of life available in Scotland to the quality of work and investment available in the sector.

“Additionally, it is also the first prospectus to be supported directly by both the UK and Scottish governments, clearly illustrating Scotland’s significant role in the UK’s overall strength in financial services.

“I am very grateful to Scottish Financial Enterprise for driving the collaboration and I look forward to using the prospectus to showcase Scotland’s strength to the world.”

UK Government Minister Lord Duncan said the financial sector in Scotland “punches above its weight” and promised the UK would continue to work with the Scottish Government and the sector in growing the economy.

Mr Estlin described Scotland as “one of the most vibrant elements of the UK’s financial services ecosystem” and said the document would help to create jobs and prosperity.

Scottish Financial Enterprise chief executive Graeme Jones said: “This fantastic document is the result of extensive collaboration within our industry by people and organisations dedicated to driving the continued success of Scotland’s financial services industry.

“This document sets out a compelling case for establishing or expanding businesses within our enviable financial services ecosytem.

“Most importantly, this document is a statement of intent for further success and realising our collective potential.”