Economy speech

‘Poor UK decisions holding us back’, says Swinney

John Swinney says he will encourage investment (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

First Minister John Swinney will today commit to encouraging investment into Scotland but once again will blame Westminster for holding the country back.

Speaking at the Barclays Campus in Glasgow’s financial district, Mr Swinney will say poor decision-making at UK level – typified by Brexit and immigration policy – means the Scottish Government must work even harder with its limited powers to help businesses and workers thrive.

The First Minister will say he’s determined to bring hope and optimism and will “go all out” to encourage economic investment.

He will commit to “left of centre, progressive values” and a partnership approach with business and trade unions.

The First Minister will highlight significant announcements in Scotland’s renewable energy sector this week and actions the Scottish Government is taking to boost high growth businesses.

In a briefing issued ahead of the speech the First Minister said: “My goal is to help people live happier and healthier lives with higher living standards and to help businesses boost profitability.

“The evidence shows that independent countries that are comparable to Scotland are wealthier and fairer than the UK.

“Scotland has the talents and resources to match that performance with independence but in the here and now and in the face of Brexit we must work even harder to help Scotland’s economy with the powers we have.

“I will go all out to encourage investment in Scotland and I will ensure people know my government is a firmly pro-business administration.

“A partnership with trade unions and business will be at the core of my approach and through that approach and given our resources, not least incredible renewable energy, we should look to the future with hope and optimism.”

Home builders call for action

His speech comes ahead of a 900-strong gathering of housing professionals in Edinburgh, including housing minister Paul McLennan, where Homes for Scotland chief executive Jane Wood will tell its annual awards event that government must follow up promises with firm action.

“Given the strong interdependencies across the whole housing sector, we must move forward together, with a collective intelligence, challenging the status quo to find new ways of doing things in order to avoid the same outcomes, or indeed no outcomes at all.

“Recent events have highlighted the significant challenges that continue to impact the ability of our members to deliver the high quality, energy efficient and sustainable homes that Scotland needs.

“The new leadership that is now in place provides an ideal opportunity for a positive policy reset, with strong direction that embraces clear actions and not just words.”

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