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Letter to FM

CBI urges FM to focus on new economy and return to work

Tracy Black

Tracy Black: a need to adjust (pic: Terry Murden)

Nicola Sturgeon is being urged to prepare Scotland for the new demands placed on the economy and getting people back to work following 18 months of disruption caused by the pandemic.

CBI Scotland have set out a series of policy recommendations for the First Minister who will set out her Programme for Government next week.

In a letter to the First Minister, the business body’s director Tracy Black says: “During the election campaign we had parties of all stripes telling business that economic recovery was their number one priority.

“With skills shortages biting, stock levels dropping and the cost of materials soaring, it’s vital that the SNP and their Scottish Green partners use the Programme for Government to make good on their promise to prioritise our economic recovery. 

“Part of that mission is to build confidence in the recovery by sending a clear message that it’s safe to go back to work and encouraging individuals to get out and spend money. 

“The other is really focusing on the challenges and opportunities facing Scotland to build an economy that is fair, sustainable and competitive in the long-term.”

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Ms Black said that as well as putting in place measures to improve skills and invest in the “green economy”, there is a need to adjust to “new ways of living and working”.

She said: “The world is changing fast and we have to keep learning. We will become more technical and more digitally focused. There are great opportunities.”

In a letter to the First Minister she added that there needs to be a focus on reforming the planning and non-domestic rates systems to support investment in low-carbon infrastructure.

The CBI wants a rapid expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, alongside an increased incentive package to help boost demand for electric vehicles.

Ms Black urged ministers to set the target of equipping all workers with “basic digital skills” by the end of this parliamentary term.

“With skills shortages biting, stock levels dropping and the cost of materials soaring, it’s vital that the SNP, and their Scottish Green partners, use the Programme for Government to make good on their promise to prioritise our economic recovery,” she said.

“Without immediate steps to boost growth and competitiveness, Scotland risks squandering the platform given to us by the vaccine and in turn choking off economic recovery at source.”



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