3rd March 2022
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s publication of Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation, Dr Liz Cameron CBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:
“Scotland’s businesses will applaud the scale and ambition set out in the strategy, which has the potential to live up to its name and truly revolutionise the Scottish economic landscape over the next decade.
“The Strategy is a strong starting point for transformation and businesses of all sizes and from all sectors will step forward to help support the initiatives set out to drive forward the renewal of Scotland’s economy.
“By working in partnership, businesses and government can become better positioned to dial up Scotland’s economy by several notches, creating the jobs, opportunities and trading conditions that will drive an increasingly entrepreneurial, wealthier and greener Scotland.
“The key test for the Scottish Government and it’s agencies however will be to demonstrate they can effectively work with businesses to deliver meaningful change. Delivering Scotland’s economic transformation will be a collective effort and Scotland’s businesses have the skills and expertise to deliver growth, however, the public sector must create the environment to allow this to happen.”
On talent and skills:
“The renewed focus from the Scottish Government on developing Scotland’s workforce and the proposal for a new Skills Pact is welcome.
“Businesses can’t achieve their full potential without access to a skilled workforce. Skills sit at the heart of the challenges facing Scotland’s economy, and government need to focus on upskilling, reskilling and making certain that training providers are driven by the needs of business. A culture shift that openly engages individuals and institutions to ensure access to training opportunities will be key to delivering real transformational change.
“With nearly a quarter of the country’s working age population economically inactive, it is essential that we do better to establish viable routes back into work for those who have not had the opportunities that they deserve and need.
“Also ensuring Scotland has access and the ability to attract talent from the rest of the UK is essential to keep our economy competitive and plans to expand Scotland’s talent pool and reach will have a positive impact.”
On Scotland’s just transition:
“Ensuring that there is ongoing government support backed up by sensible policies as our economy transitions to diverse energy supplies, developing new business models, all enabling businesses to lead towards a practical Net-zero future will be crucial.
“Scotland has the opportunity to strengthen our place as a world leader in renewables and there is much to welcome in the strategy that will boost the sector and support businesses to deliver a fair and just transition, that protects jobs and communities.”
On international trade:
“Scotland is already internationally recognised as a producer of high-quality goods and services, however we all recognise the need to go further, readjusting to a new global trading reality.
“It is right that Scotland’s international outlook has been recognised in the Strategy and we need to ensure continued and growing investment if we are to achieve our ambitions. Competition is growing internationally and Scotland has much to offer if we support our people and products onto the global stage.”
On increased conditionality:
“The majority of Scotland’s businesses support the principles behind the Scottish Government’s Fair Work focus. However, we have many businesses who are supportive, but need additional time and support in redesigning their businesses models in relation to both affordability and sustainability. The real-life impact of conditionality on businesses needs to be considered to ensure no business is left behind as our economy adjusts to the aims set out in the Strategy.
“Businesses need the time and support to recover and keep trading whilst navigating the challenges of rising business costs and economic uncertainty. It’s crucial the Scottish Government put in place adequate support to help businesses transition, remodel and ensure they are supported in meeting the Fair Work agendas ambition.”