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Chamber urges renewed focus on business issues

Following the results of yesterday's (7th May) General Election, Caithness Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Paul Monaghan on his victory and urge him to continue to focus on business issues affecting the economic future of Caithness.

Speaking after the election, Chamber chief executive Trudy Morris said: "The Chamber has always been concerned that the representative for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross should pay close attention to the issues affecting businesses in the area, and the role that the UK Government can play in addressing these issues.

"Air Passenger Duty, for example, continues to have a real impact on tourism businesses throughout the UK and, despite the Scottish Government's promise to reduce APD by 50%, we believe it is important that the UK Government should address this issue on a national level. A coherent, inclusive national policy on APD reduction would help reduce confusion and bring a real benefit to both tourist and business travellers.

"Similarly, we would like to see a real effort made by the UK Government to address the issue of VAT reduction for the tourism industry. A number of studies have shown that this would bring significant benefits to the industry and may even result in a net revenue boost for the Exchequer. The UK remains one of just a few EU nations not to take advantage of VAT reductions for this crucial industry, and we would like to see this issue addressed as soon as possible to help our tourism businesses compete on an even footing with their European counterparts.

"On a local level, we would also like to see our representative at Westminster work closely with their counterpart in the Scottish Government, helping to ensure that the two Parliaments are working in tandem to address vital issues affecting the area.

“For Caithness, and for Scotland as a whole, to continue to grow, we need a strong, confident business community. This requires a government that will work closely with businesses to create a competitive business environment, invest in and foster the talents of the next generation, and put business at the heart of local growth.

"We look forward to working with Paul Monaghan over the coming years to address the issues of importance to the business community in Caithness."