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Organisation supports Remain campaign

SCDI says EU is key to Scotland’s competitiveness

Photo: Dave Kellam
Photo: Dave Kellam

The Scottish Council for Development & Industry (SCDI) says remaining in the EU is important to Scotland’s competitiveness in the global economy.

A clear majority of the SCDI’s broad range of private, public and social sectors members, supports continued membership of the EU.

Ross Martin, chief executive, said: “We believe that Scotland’s economy is best served by the UK’s continued membership of the EU.

“Today, some 45% of Scotland’s exports and 336,000 jobs depend on trade with EU countries and many of Scotland’s cities and regions, and businesses and educational institutions have deep links with counterparts across the EU.

“SCDI has identified a number of important challenges for the economy, namely productivity, innovation and internationalisation, underpinned by infrastructure. To address these challenges effectively and to grow Scotland’s competitiveness, we should remain in the EU and engage energetically with its institutions.”

Mr Martin (pictured below) said the organisation, whose membership spans businesses, professional associations, trade unions, the public sector, faith groups and charitable organisations, recognised that the EU was in need of reform, but believes change would be best achieved from within.

“While the EU obviously needs to reform and focus on key priorities, as the global economy becomes more competitive and connectivity improves, SCDI believes that influence in, and from within, the EU offers stronger prospects for Scotland to be successful,” he said.

Ross Martin

“We look forward to making that case, but also to providing a platform for the issues to be discussed from both perspectives.”

SCDI said that despite its support for continued membership it recognises that it will be a decision for individuals across the country to reach.

Many of SCDI’s members have raised the need for non-partisan evidence on the potential impact of a decision either way in order to help people reach informed decisions. SCDI is planning to facilitate those considerations.

In SCDI’s view, the EU is an essential foundation for Scotland’s international trade and investment, enabling the free movement of goods, capital, services and people, reducing regulatory barriers and developing common standards.

It says people from the EU supply key skills in the Scottish economy and a significant and growing population at our world-class educational institutions. It adds that the EU is now the main proponent of trade agreements and a successful defender of trade interests at the World Trade Organisation.

Concerns raised by SCDI members about leaving the EU included reduced influence over key policies, such as pan-European energy networks; reduced funding, for example for research and development or regional and social development; and reduced knowledge exchange in business and education.

Discussions with members found areas where there is support for reform. Some identified a deepening of the single market and action to address national regulatory barriers to trade, while others are concerned that there is some legislative and regulatory over-reach by the EU.

The SCDI concluded that both issues would benefit from EU institutions being more visible, responsive and flexible to business needs.

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