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19 May 2017

  |  CBI Press Team

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Genuine partnership essential for Scotland's future

Meaningful collaboration is essential to achieving inclusive and productive economy, so says CBI Scotland's business manifesto

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The UK stands at a crossroads ahead of Brexit and politicians from all parties must reaffirm their pride in our businesses and work together to manage the risk and opportunities ahead for the Scottish economy.

That’s the message from the CBI as it launches Backing Prosperity in Scotland, outlining five clear policy priorities for the 2017 General Election. CBI Scotland is calling on the new UK government to commit to meaningful collaboration with Scottish firms and the Scottish Government to boost productivity and unlock prosperity across all regions that delivers investment, innovation, and jobs.

Backing Prosperity in Scotland urges policymakers to deliver a renewed focus on business priorities for Brexit and delivering growth, including:

  • A more joined-up conversation between the new UK government and Scottish Government on the EU negotiations that allows businesses more opportunities to contribute to their success
  • Ensure that powers are returned to the UK from the EU at the right level and the ease of doing business in different nations of the UK is retained
  • Demonstrable governmental coordination on delivering elements of industrial strategy where there is shared competence
  • Continued coordinated support from both governments for businesses competing on the global stage
  • A collaborative approach to energy strategy that provides clarity for businesses to innovate, invest and enable all technologies and fuels to play a role in maximising the opportunities of an affordable transition to a low carbon energy mix.

CBI Scotland Director, Hugh Aitken, said:

“Addressing Scotland’s deep-seated problems of low productivity and firing up its potential as one of the most inclusive, innovative and open economies in the world isn’t just a challenge for the Scottish Government. A successful UK economy needs all its component parts firing on all cylinders. That means the UK government must back prosperity in Scotland.

“It’s therefore essential that Scotland’s business and political leaders are involved in a genuine and meaningful partnership with the UK Government to address key challenges on the horizon, from Brexit and what it means for overseas trade and the potential repatriation of powers to Holyrood, to driving a successful industrial strategy underpinned by a low carbon economy that embraces new technologies.”

Backing Prosperity in Scotland, calls for true collaboration between business and governments on both sides of the border to see the delivery of shared goals including a more productive and inclusive economy, better living standards, and genuine prosperity across the whole of Scotland.

It calls for action in the following areas:

EU negotiations: A joined-up conversation between the new UK government and Scottish Government that provides opportunities for Scottish businesses to feed into the UK’s negotiations with the EU. The new relationship must deliver access to the skills and labour Scotland needs, alongside an agreement on trade that works for businesses in all sectors.

Repatriation of Powers: Ensure powers are returned to the UK from the EU at the right level and the ease of doing business in different nations of the UK is retained. A clear economic case should be made when exploring which powers should be devolved or reserved, so business can assess the costs and benefits of any decision.

Trade: Scotland’s businesses must have continued access to DIT trade support and advice to help them compete on the global stage. Executive agencies on both sides of the border must coordinate export support in order to avoid duplication of efforts.

Industrial Strategy: As the Scottish Government leads on key elements of the industrial strategy such as infrastructure and skills, the new UK government should coordinate and collaborate on pillars of shared competence, in particular sector deals and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to ensure that businesses in Scotland truly benefit.

Energy: A clear and long-term framework for a cost-effective transition to a low carbon economy that is the result of UK government and Scottish government collaboration with business. It should provide clarity for businesses to innovate, invest and enable all technologies and fuels to play a role in maximising the opportunities of an affordable transition to a low carbon energy mix. It should also place an emphasis on energy efficiency for both businesses and households.

 

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