Commenting on the announcement of the Scottish Government’s Brexit proposals, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“We welcome the assurances from the Scottish and UK Governments that they will work with each other as the country moves towards triggering of Article 50 and the commencement of formal negotiations about our future relationship with the European Union next year. It is vital that this working relationship puts narrow political differences aside and focuses on achieving the best possible result for businesses in Scotland and, indeed, across the UK. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce network will review the options proposed in the Scottish Government’s paper with Scottish businesses and look forward to further discussions in the New Year.
“We want Scotland’s businesses to be seizing every available opportunity to grow their exporting potential and businesses have told us that they value tariff free access to the EU single market as one of their top asks from government in the forthcoming negotiation process. The EU as a whole represents the largest market for Scotland’s goods outside of the UK and the ability for firms to export profitably to it is of major importance to our future prospects for growing the Scottish economy.
“Equally our members tell us that they have invested significantly in recruiting and training many of the estimated 181,000 EU nations resident in Scotland. These are people who have made Scotland their home and to whom many of our businesses are reliant upon for their future growth. We believe that the UK Government must unilaterally guarantee these valued people the right to remain and work in this country, providing security not just to them but to the businesses that employ them.
“We believe there is also a strong case to be made for future flexibility in terms of immigration to Scotland in order to ensure that our aspirations for growth are not limited by a population that is growing slower than that of the UK as a whole. The likes of Quebec already have a degree of flexibility within the overall Canadian immigration system and we believe that there is an economic case to explore similar options within the UK.”