Business group’s government manifesto

Dr Liz Cameron of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

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Scotland’s national business group has tabled a new action plan ahead of the elections to the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has called for the next government to implement a series of measures to ‘reset’ the relationship between businesses and Holyrood.

The SCC’s new 20-page action plan called ‘Rally for Growth,’ has been circulated to parliamentarians and contains a number of proposals.

The new action plan

It aims to offer a three-pronged approach providing a blueprint for economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus, addressing the impacts of leaving the European Union and tackling what it called ‘a legacy of slow growth’ in Scotland.

The document states: ‘For too long, commerce has played second fiddle in Scotland’s political culture.’ It also called on ‘all political parties to celebrate and support the value of business and its importance in their policy programmes’.

Top of the demands are that Scottish ministers pass a Business Growth Act within the first 100 days of the new parliament.

It is proposed that the act encompasses the most urgent issues facing businesses.

These include reducing upfront business costs, boosting international trade, upskilling, and reskilling the workforce, and major digital and infrastructure investment.

It also calls for a new Joint Economic Partnership to be created bringing ministers, the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisers and the heads of Scottish business groups together, including the SCC.

It would oversee an ‘ambitious programme’ of pro-enterprise, pro-growth policies to boost business growth and job creation, said the SCC.

Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the SCC, said: ‘Our wide-ranging Rally for Growth action plan is the manifesto of the business community to forge a new, closer, more effective alliance between Scottish businesses and the next Scottish Parliament.

‘We hope our plan will provide a comprehensive yet practical set of ideas that will be fundamental to ensuring that our economy bounces back and is ready to grasp new trading opportunities here and abroad.

‘The pace of government action must be accelerated considerably. The Scottish people need commerce and government to align if we are to tackle the big challenges ahead.

‘In this most critical moment, it is vital that Scottish ministers and business leaders are talking the same language and recognising the need to balance long-term strategies for growth alongside concrete action in the here and now, to ensure we retain as many businesses as possible whilst creating new jobs.’

To get a copy of the action plan, visit: https://www.scottishchambers.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/1.-SCC-Network-Rally-For-Growth-2021-Scottish-Elections.pdf