Businesses have called for the Scottish Government to cut the cost of doing business by creating a long-term competitive tax strategy and taking advantage of UK energy incentives.
CBI Scotland wants to see lower business rates and a level playing field with England on the large business supplement.
Its demands, which come ahead of Tuesday’s Programme for Government, also include a ramping up of digital connectivity by the end of the next parliamentary term and 25,000 homes built each year. The CBI wants transport infrastructure investments that improve connectivity to key markets, including the rest of the UK.
With the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) putting climate change at the heart of decision making, CBI Scotland has warned that long-standing planning barriers still needed to be addressed and consenting times for projects reduced if the policy is to be implemented successfully.
CBI Scotland director Tracy Black said: “A long-term tax strategy would create certainty and simplicity. It would boost international competitiveness, make it more attractive to investors and enhance Scotland’s reputation as a place to do business.
“Scotland can steal a march on its rivals by speeding up the consenting process to cut down on the 12 years it takes to build an offshore wind power project in the UK. Business rates should incentivise investment to decarbonise older buildings, with rates relief giving tax breaks to firms that improve energy efficiency.
“Firms know long-term sustainable growth will help support life opportunities, fund public services and deliver on shared policy priorities. They are ready to work with government to make sure Scotland marches ahead of its international rivals.”
“The First Minister’s ‘New Deal for Business’ must be the starting point of an effective partnership between government and business to create a clear, stable policy environment to grow the Scottish economy for the benefit of all.”
Plans to reduce poverty, deliver economic growth, tackle climate change and provide high quality public services will be central to First Minister Humza Yousaf’s first Programme for Government which will be delivered to MSPs at Holyrood.
He will promise to build on key partnerships – including the Verity House agreement with local authorities and the New Deal for Business – “to deliver a wellbeing economy that boosts economic growth to provide high-quality public services, and has well-paid and fair jobs at its heart.”
Speaking ahead of the statement, Mr Yousaf said: “This is my first Programme for Government, and in the days ahead I will outline the ambitious plans my government has for the people of Scotland – plans which are focused on reducing poverty, delivering growth, helping to tackle climate change and providing high quality public services.
“These are the areas that matter most to people, communities and businesses across the country. We are in a cost of living crisis that is impacting the most vulnerable in our society the most – communities which have been suffering at the hands of UK Government cuts for too long.
“The government I lead will continue to focus on protecting our public services and improving the support we provide to help build a stronger economy and a fairer society. That ambition is the only way we can deliver real, positive change for people right across the country.”