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Plea for consensus

‘Stop playing games’ and focus on economy, CBI tells MSPs

Tracy Black

Tracy Black: ‘We need an end to brinkmanship’ (pic: Terry Murden)

CBI Scotland director Tracy Black says businesses want Scottish politicians to “stop playing games” and focus on building the economy.

Ahead of next month’s Scottish Budget she has called on Holyrood MSPs to pull together or risk “losing sight of the big picture”.

She says: “With progress finally being made on the Withdrawal Agreement, we have an opportunity to refocus efforts on the domestic agenda and Scotland’s key economic challenges.

“Business is absolutely clear that it wants politics out of the boardroom so that it can focus on what it does best: deliver jobs, higher wages and economic growth.

“To achieve that we need to put the political games and brinksmanship of the past few years to one side and start pulling in the same direction.”

The CBI stresses that achieving key targets on carbon reduction and funding quality public services, depend on a strong, resilient and growing economy. 

The recent debate about ending the Uniform Business Rate has given rise to concern among businesses that Holyrood is losing sight of the big picture, it says.

In a submission to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay ahead of the Budget on 6 February, CBI Scotland proposes a series of key recommendations, ranging from immediate to long-term, to re-focus minds and kickstart the Scottish economy. These include:

  • Supporting upskilling and retraining with additional funding to ensure everyone can benefit from technological change in the workplace;
  • Retaining the Uniform Business Rate and bring the large business supplement into line with rest of UK to protect and increase investment.; 
  • Setting a target for 100% of the workforce to have basic digital skills by 2025 so all have the ability to thrive in an increasingly digital world;
  • Committing to no further divergence with the rest of the UK on income tax to support businesses in attracting talent to live and work in Scotland;
  • Setting a national housing target and allocate more funding for planning departments to improve speed of decision-making and home building. 


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