Scotland's Economy ScotRef

Scottish Business Buzz (12.04.17)

Small business owners show support for Scottish referendum. 

A Guardian readers poll has revealed strong backing for a second vote on Scottish independence, with entrepreneurs who voted for the union in 2014 backing independence following the Brexit result.

86% of those who responded to the Guardian poll said they would support another independence vote. The EU referendum result has had an impact. A recent Opinium/ Observer poll found 63% of Scottish voters believe the Brexit vote has made the breakup of the UK more likely.

Member of Business for Scotland, Elizabeth Carnahan, founder of Gracefruit Ltd commented. Elizabeth voted no in 2014 because of the possibility of Scotland losing its EU membership, and would vote yes this time. She believes a good relationship with the EU is just as important to her business as one with the UK:

“While we export a lot to the EU, we buy most of our components and raw materials from distributors within the UK (although most of these are imported from elsewhere). Leaving the single market would disrupt supply chains affecting many UK businesses, not just mine.”

“We’ve had contact from worried EU customers who depend on our products for their own small businesses. [And] due to the falling value of the pound, we have seen significant price increases on most everything we buy.”

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Fraser of Allander report concludes that independence poll was not a major driver of volatility to Scottish economy 

The report by the University of Strathclyde’s think tank points to a number of other causes, including global events around the time, such as the Eurozone debt crisis, as having a much more significant impact on the economy – putting to bed the argument that the vote on Scottish independence had damaging consequences for Scotland’s economic performance. The result of the 2010 General Election and the Brexit vote were also seen to have caused more economic volatility than the 2014 vote.

The report backs Business for Scotland’s position that the Brexit vote has created the highest level of economic uncertainty possible and so it is old fashioned British Nationalism and not the civic international and inclusive Scottish self determination movement that is creating uncertainty.

Business for Scotland believes an independent Scotland within the single market, trading as an equal with friends and neighbours in the EU and the rUK, will avoid the years of uncertainty that Brexit will bring to the rest of the UK and will enjoy enhanced economic certainty.

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15.4% increase in passenger numbers at Scotland’s regional airports

The record breaking figures show a total of 1,658,423 customers used HIAL airports during the twelve–month period, an increase of 220,798 passengers on the 2015/16 total of 1,437,625.

Highlights include a 23.5% growth in numbers at Inverness Airport, a 14% year-on-year increase at Sumburgh, 64% additional customers at Dundee, and 16% more passengers at Barra.

The Inverness figures reached 829,018 for the financial year, further illustrating the airport’s popularity and increasingly important role as a driver for the Highland region and economy.  In addition to growth as a result of the airport’s Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol flights, all major routes from the city welcomed additional passengers.

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Scottish retail productivity falling behind UK average due to tax costs

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has released a new report ‘What’s Next, the future of Scottish retail’, examining productivity and innovation in the Scottish retail industry.

The report has some stark findings: Scotland is more exposed to the consequences of change in retail than the UK as a whole; Productivity growth in Scottish retail is slower than the UK average, driven by a decline in job numbers; A fifth of Scottish retail premises are at risk of closure in the next decade.

SRC Chairman, Andrew Murphy said: “Government faces a stark choice. They can create a positive business environment promoting the conditions for constructive investment in business model change and creation of quality jobs, or they can continue on the current path of largely ignoring the systemic problems and allowing increasing costs to fall on retailers. Such an approach will curtail investment in stores and result in fewer jobs, hollowed-out town centres and lower tax revenues. This paper sets out the case for a positive economic strategy which will create higher paying, more productive retail jobs in Scotland.”

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Scotland the Brief project with more than £15k backing towards research in economics of independence 

The Business for Scotland Fast Start to Indyref2 campaign has smashed the target to raise £15,000 for our Scotland the Brief project.

Closed at midnight on Friday April 7, the crowdfunding total stands at £16,176 – and will be matched by business donors taking the amount raised to more than £32k.

The money will go towards funding our research and producing evidence on the economics of independence and our Scotland the Brief project, sharing facts that demonstrate Scotland’s deep economic strengths and the opportunities for sectors, exports and communities through independence.

In addition, the crowdfunder proceeds will enable us to publish far reaching and hard hitting research on the UK’s economic mismanagement of Scotland’s oil wealth.

Business for Scotland thanks the 347 backers who supported the vital role that we intend to play in an upcoming Scottish referendum. We will help deliver independence for Scotland so that we can create a better, fairer, more sustainable and economically successful nation where prosperity is shared.

About the author

Rhona Middler

Rhona was Business for Scotland's Engagement Executive and Events Manager.

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