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SCC COMMENT ON THE AUTUMN STATEMENT

Wed, 2016-11-23 14:48

Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has today welcomed the clear focus on infrastructure in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement and, whilst a number of his proposals apply to England only, the additional capital revenues that will accrue to the Scottish Government will enable an increase in its planned infrastructure spend.  This and the continued commitment to Scottish City Deals will help to bolster business confidence in Scotland.  Commenting, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of SCC, said:

 

On infrastructure spending:

 

“The Chancellor has used his first major budgetary announcement to place the UK Government’s focus firmly upon infrastructure.  This is a key priority for business and the news that £800 million of additional capital resources will be coming to Scotland through to 2021 as a result of the Autumn Statement is extremely good news for Scotland and will give the Scottish Government the ability to do more to address Scotland’s connectivity and housing needs and accelerate some long overdue projects, such as improvements to the A82, the Berriedale Braes on the A9 in Caithness and deliver much needed upgrades to Scotland’s outdated rail infrastructure north of Perth.”

 

On City Deals:

 

“The Scottish Chambers of Commerce network has been lobbying the UK Government hard to secure the future of new and existing City Deals in Scotland and we are delighted that the Chancellor has not only committed funding to the existing deals but has also expanded consideration of the new proposals for Edinburgh, the Tay Cities and Stirling.  City Deals are vitally important to securing the growth of Scotland’s economy and delivering upon the needs not just of our cities but their wider regions.  Their continued expansion is excellent news for Scotland.”

 

On Digital Infrastructure:

 

“We have long had an ambition for Scotland to become an ‘always connected’ economy and the Chancellor’s strong backing to the roll out of full-fibre broadband and 5G mobile communications could put us well on the road to this.  That said, the challenge to achieving this in Scotland remains huge, particularly as large parts of the country are still missing out on superfast broadband and even basic 2G or 3G mobile communications coverage.  The Scottish Government must respond with new targets for digital coverage and performance in Scotland.”

 

On Business Taxes:

 

“Whilst the commitment to a continued reduction in the rate of Corporation Tax sends out a welcome message internationally that the UK is open for business, many small and medium sized businesses would prefer to have seen action to tackle other taxes, such as business rates.  Although business rates are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, the direction of travel in the rest of the UK on this tax matters in a comparative sense.  The expansion of some business rates reliefs south of the border underlines the need for fundamental reform of rates in Scotland if we are to avoid falling further behind in terms of Scotland’s attractiveness and competitiveness as a place to do business.”