30 May 2017
SNP manifesto response
CBI Scotland's Director, Hugh Aitken, has responded to the SNP's 2017 general election manifesto.
Hugh Aitken, CBI Scotland Director, said:
“Whatever the election outcome, it’s essential that the next UK government works together with the Scottish Government to get the very best deal for Scottish businesses from the forthcoming EU negotiations.
“To achieve this we need to make sure a joined up conversation takes place between the new UK government and the Scottish Government. Ultimately, for most businesses the immediate priority remains understanding how easy it will be for them to trade in the future with the EU, rather than constitutional questions.
“A successful UK economy needs all its component parts firing on all cylinders and business leaders in Scotland need stability and clarity over what comes next to give them the confidence to continue investing, creating jobs and prosperity across the country.”
On tax, Hugh said:
“The Scottish Government would need to carefully consider any tax changes it makes in response to a UK-wide change to avoid weakening Scotland’s ability to attract and retain talent or set the conditions for businesses to thrive.”
On repatriation of powers from Brussels, Hugh said:
“A clear economic case should be made when exploring which powers should be devolved or reserved, so business can assess the costs and benefits of any decision. It’s vital to retain the ease of doing business across the UK single market.”
On immigration, Hugh said:
“The post-Brexit immigration system must allow businesses in Scotland access to the skills and labour they need to grow, and support the delivery of strong public services to support our competitiveness. Businesses need to know what this looks like by the end of this year.”
On employment and pay, Hugh said:
“Flexibility in our labour market remains a huge strength in our economy, which is why politically-driven increases to the national minimum wage should be avoided. Firms want to raise pay as far as possible, but to be sustainable, increases must go hand-in-hand with productivity gains.”
On industrial strategy, Hugh said:
“We’re glad the SNP recognises the importance of partnership working to deliver an industrial strategy that works for Scottish businesses and tackles Scotland’s current economic challenges. CBI Scotland looks forward to working with the Scottish Government and the new UK government to ensure progress is made.”
On further support for the oil and gas industry, Hugh said:
“The oil and gas sector is hugely important to the Scottish economy and we welcome new commitments to support the sector.”
On investment in Scotland’s cities and regions, Hugh said:
“Ensuring investment targets the key drivers of productivity such as infrastructure and innovation will be vital to ensuring that Scotland’s cities and regions benefit from city region deals.”
On the alternative fiscal plan, Hugh said:
“We welcome the commitment to balance the budget, though this should take place over the economic cycle.
“The CBI advocates increasing investment spending to support productivity growth. Any extra expenditure must be in line with the wider economic context to maintain sustainable public finances.”
On areas requiring further clarity, Hugh said:
“Business shares the goal to close the gender pay gap and improving tax transparency but further clarity is needed on what the SNP’s approach would be in these areas.”