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Business calls for collaboration to tackle Brexit issues

Nicola Sturgeon ButeScottish business has called for ‘leadership and collaboration’ as a response to the talks held this week at Bute House.

A number of representative organisations, including the CBI, Chambers of Commerce and Institute of Directors, have issued a joint statement following their meeting with the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Economy Secretary Keith Brown at an EU Business Summit on Tuesday.

It calls on the Scottish & UK Governments to’ demonstrate leadership and maintain joint working relationships.’ 

It is signed by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, Scottish Financial Enterprise, Scottish Council for Development & Industry, Confederation of British Industry and Institute of Directors.

Full Statement:

Across Scotland, the businesses we represent are considering the opportunities and challenges that will arise from the outcome of the EU Referendum. Collectively, we represent the broadest spectrum of businesses including private sector firms, public sector and the social economy. Our members hold diverse views on the European Union but the need to drive prosperity – by preserving jobs, attracting investment and driving economic growth for Scotland – is what brings us together. 

To businesses, we applaud the immediate response: businesses doing what they do best by   maintaining ‘business as usual’ when trading with European Union markets, and exploring the possible opportunities that lie ahead, both in European markets and globally. We underline our belief that Scotland is a great place to do business and that we are, ‘open for business.’ Our organisations will continue to use our resources and connections to promote this message.

“Within the business community there is unanimous agreement that we need strong leadership and clarity of the timeframe for next steps from both Governments, in order to create more stability and to maintain business, consumer and investor confidence. We recommend that both Governments establish areas of common interest, making sure positive outcomes are achieved.

“We are committed to working in collaboration with the Scottish & UK Governments to secure the best deal for Scottish businesses in the negotiations that lie ahead. These negotiations will determine our future trading relationships with the European Union and will also influence how we trade with the rest of the world.

“We look to both Governments to prioritise these key business issues:

 Access to the European Union markets, currently worth over £11 billion to Scottish businesses;

Access to a talented, skilled workforce, including the clear protection of EU nationals currently studying, living and working in Scotland, because their skills are crucial to the success of our businesses;

Support for non-UK EU nationals who run businesses in Scotland;

Following through on planned infrastructure projects like airport expansion and digital broadband rollout;

Maintaining the competitive edge of Scottish business by reviewing “domestic” areas of control including supportive taxation rates for businesses.

“It is our belief that by delivering on these priorities, we will boost business confidence, and send the signal globally, that Scotland continues to be an attractive destination to start, build and grow a business.”  

Earlier, the FSB welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to accept its call for the establishment of an EU business advice hub. The FSB argued that a specialist unit would help and listen to firms.

Andy Willox, FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “This move by the Scottish Government demonstrates to local firms and multinational enterprises that the country is open for business.

“By filling the information gap, Scottish Ministers can help to boost confidence. Further, by establishing a listening-post, the government can spot both problems and opportunities. 

“The First Minister is absolutely right to reassure non-UK EU nationals on our shores. From Kirkwall to Kirkintilloch, EU nationals run businesses, and work for businesses, vitally important to our local economies and communities.”

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