Business for Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s new economic strategy, announced today by FM Nicola Sturgeon.
The idea for targeted tax allowances to stimulate growth has been championed by Business for Scotland. Rather than a blanket corporation tax cut, companies could earn allowances with behaviours that match Scotland’s key priorities such as investing in R&D, boosting productivity or hitting targets on apprenticeships. A Government with fewer economic levers than its international competitors has to be creative.
The new strategy is a close match to the goals and values of Business for Scotland, discussed and agreed by our membership in October and December 2014.
We asked our 3,500 members what their business and economic priorities were and their response echoes the Scottish Government’s priorities: R&D, internationalisation, SME focus, the Living Wage and gender equality. We’ll be announcing a series of business and economic campaigns and events over the next few months that tie in with these key priorities.
Scotland has a huge opportunity should the Westminster SNP block after the General Election be able to wrestle control of corporation tax away from London, adding another important economic lever to Holyrood’s control. Despite calls by Business for Scotland for corporation tax to be devolved it was left out of the command paper, and this is despite the fact that control over corporation tax is being devolved to Northern Ireland.
Business for Scotland founder and CEO, Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp commented: “The focus on innovation in the new strategy is spot on. Scotland spends 1.25% of GDP on R&D. The faster growing and more prosperous smaller nations we lag behind such as Norway, Finland, Ireland, and Denmark spend an average of 3.4%. Building towards an R&D spend of 3.4% of GDP over a five year period would mean that Scotland’s economy would grow by around £12bn a year.”
We also welcome the emphasis on inclusion and equality:
Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp stated: “This is the balanced strategy we need, because matching countries such as Denmark for innovation and economic growth will count for little if we don’t also match them for health, happiness equality and well being.”
Business for Scotland’s overarching goal is building national prosperity, and ensuring that the wealth is shared fairly and equally across our society. We look forward to working with the Scottish Government and other interested parties to help to develop and implement the strategy and build Scotland’s national prosperity.