28 January 2021
Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said:
“The Finance Secretary is right to put business support and economic recovery front and centre of this year’s draft Budget. With jobs, firms and livelihoods still hanging by a thread, Scotland can’t afford to wait until the pandemic is over before initiating plans for a sustained recovery.
“Health must come first and lowering transmission rates remains the priority. Yet with so many struggling companies across Scotland, it’s only right that proper consideration is given to reopening the economy when it is safe to do so. This should be driven by data and done in dialogue with business.
“The private sector is critical to a successful recovery and moves to protect firms’ immediate futures are welcome. Continuing rates reliefs for the hard-hit hospitality, retail and tourism sectors is welcome, however a three-month window remains a challenging timetable for firms under real pressure. Companies will also be relieved to see a continued commitment to Covid business support and no further changes on income tax.
“The UK and Scottish governments must now work together to provide certainty over business support, ensuring that the firms we need to drive economic recovery survive the tough weeks and months ahead.
“Longer term, the figures from the Scottish Fiscal Commission paint a worrying picture and highlight the scale of the challenge ahead. Maintaining a laser focus on boosting productivity and protecting competitiveness are key.”