Commenting on the decision by the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee to keep interest rates on hold at 0.25%, Scottish Chambers of Commerce have called for a clear plan for business to be at the centre of the UK Government’s forthcoming Autumn Statement. Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“It is no surprise that interest rates have again been kept on hold by the Bank of England. There is little room left to cut rates further, whilst any increase could hinder prospects for business growth. Inflation, driven by the rising cost of imports as a result of the fall in the value of sterling, remains a concern but it is somewhat encouraging that the Bank of England believes that it can be contained at less than 3% before returning to target by around 2020.
“Given the current economic landscape, it is clear that monetary policy can only take us so far and that clear economic direction from Government is required to provide businesses with the best chance to take advantage of new opportunities. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement later this month will be a watershed moment in terms of the UK Government’s future economic policy. We believe that this needs to herald a clear commitment to infrastructure funding through new Scottish city-region deals and an approach to tax that mitigates costs to business. Alongside this must be a clear commitment to enable businesses to access the talent that they need to grow – that means that the Scottish Government must fund more apprenticeships for the over 25s and the UK Government must deliver a solution that enables more workers from overseas to live and work in Scotland.”