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SCC COMMENT AHEAD OF SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER ON INDEPENDENCE

Mon, 2013-11-25 11:08

Commenting in advance of the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The publication of the Scottish Government’s White Paper will be a defining moment in the ongoing debate over Scotland’s constitutional status. It is being billed as a prospectus for the case for independence and businesses across Scotland are looking for a clearer picture of what the economy of an independent Scotland might look like.

“In a survey conducted by Scottish Chambers of Commerce and Professor David Bell of Stirling University earlier this year, the majority of businesses who responded signalled that they required more information before they felt they were equipped to take a view on the independence debate. We will therefore be looking for the White Paper to spark closer engagement with Scotland’s business community and to focus on key issues such as taxation, the EU, currency and regulation, which are the areas our members have told us are most important to them.

“It would be wrong to expect definitive answers on exactly which policies will be pursued by government in the event of Scottish independence – that would be a matter for those future governments to determine and implement at the appropriate time. What we do expect is for both sides of this debate to engage with businesses to help us to understand the potential future structures and opportunities in order to allow us to plan ahead and, indeed, to influence policy in Scotland, whether our future lies within our outwith the Union.

“Both the Scottish Government and the UK Government have published numerous weighty documents covering a variety of aspects of the constitutional debate. Volume of information is one thing, but conveying concepts to business and responding to their needs requires much more than the publication of reports. We welcome the fact that politicians of all hues have engaged with Chambers of Commerce throughout Scotland to make their case to Scotland’s business community. Equally important is that the politicians listen. The burning issues of today – like Scotland’s connectivity, education and skills, business support, energy and regulation – will still be issues for government to address in 5 years’ time. Politicians should not lose sight of this and no matter what the outcome of the referendum next year, we expect them to be working on solutions today.”