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Popular choice for relocation

Scotland lures finance firms as Leonard demands reform

Glasgow IFSD

Scotland continues to be an attraction (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland’s financial services sector is benefiting from firms relocating out of other UK locations, including London and the South East.

Almost a third (29%) of those deciding to expand to other parts of Britain chose Scotland, according to a survey by EY. It is published as Labour leader Richard Leonard calls on Scotland-based financial institutions to direct more investment into the country.

The research, carried out prior to COVID-19, also showed Scotland scoring highly for life satisfaction compared to the other countries with notable financial centres in Europe, including the UK, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, France and Luxembourg.

Commenting on the survey, Sue Dawe, head of financial services in Scotland, said: “Markets are fluid and competition remains global with many different factors influencing decisions.

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“Every financial hub is constantly being reviewed and Scotland has an extremely strong case to compete and be a top choice for relocation on an international scale.

“Highly skilled job opportunities and the relatively low cost of living contribute towards Scotland’s quality of life which is rated by both the individual and employers.

“It is an important factor to help boost the talent pool and propel the industry forward.”

Labour wants firms to invest in Scotland

The survey’s results coincide with Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard calling for Scotland-based financial institutions to invest more into Scotland.  

Mr Leonard wants a Scottish Sustainable Finance Group to bring together Scotland based finance houses with representatives of trade unions to develop “a long-term sustainable investment strategy”.

Under these plans, financial institutions would be encouraged to publish how much investment they undertake in Scotland and what percentage of their total investment is in Scotland.  

Richard Leonard in Airdrie

Richard Leonard: investment strategy (pic: Terry Murden)

The plan is backed by Unite the Union which represents staff employed in the sector. 

Mr Leonard said Scottish Labour supports reforms to the finance sector, so that it works “not just for shareholders and well-paid big business executives, but also for employees, customers, co-operatives and small and medium sized businesses. ”      

He added: “The Scottish National Investment bank should lead the way in ensuring that we get the funding in place to deliver a Green New Deal and are able to revive the economy with a jobs led recovery.  

“Financial institutions that have bases in our main financial centres… would be encouraged to invest more into Scottish businesses and projects directly and to state how much they invest in Scotland and what percentage of their total investment is in Scotland.”

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