Politicians Must Prioritise Talent and Investment
Commenting on the Scottish Budget for 2016-17, announced by the Deputy First Minister this afternoon, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“The Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2016-17 is vitally important for business as it marks the beginning of a new era for the Scottish Parliament’s growing control over Scottish taxes. Whilst the Scottish Government has sensibly refrained from making changes to the Scottish Rate of Income Tax for the coming year, it is notable that businesses have once again become a target for tax rises in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government’s plans to raid Scottish businesses to provide a further £130 million in Business Rates next year does not sit well with its stated aims of supporting growth, jobs and exports. The Deputy First Minister also promised a review of Business Rates in Scotland and we welcome this. Scottish Chambers of Commerce has been calling for a genuine and fundamental review of Business Rates since the last revaluation in 2010. Previous Government promises to review this tax have been piecemeal and ineffective and we will hold them to account on this latest pledge.
“In terms of spending, it is notable that areas such as the enterprise bodies, tourism and skills have been earmarked for cuts. This provides an opportunity to take stock and look at what is really contributing to the growth of jobs, wealth and exports in Scotland and to conduct a thorough evaluation of where resources are well spent and where they are not.
“As politicians of all political parties develop their plans for Scotland over the next five years, they must remember that Scotland needs more talented people and more investment. Any policies that could damage our ability to attract either of these would severely hamper businesses’ ability to create wealth and jobs.”