Scotland must work harder to attract overseas business, experts warn

27 Oct 2011

Policy area: Finance

Business chiefs have today told Holyrood it must find ways of attracting business to Scotland, or face the prospect of undermining other policy goals.

The Scottish Property Federation autumn conference in Edinburgh today heard that in the face of a £39bn budget cut over 16 years, Scotland's long-term economic health rests on attracting overseas cash, companies and institutions and that this will only be achieved by improving tax, planning and infrastructure policies.

SPF Chairman Malcolm Naish said: "With wide ranging cuts to public spending and a reliance on a private sector led economic recovery, Scotland needs to seriously consider how it will attract business to its towns and cities and see them flourish."

The Scottish government recently outlined plans to introduce a public health levy on supermarkets and cut empty property rate relief, both of which the SPF described as a disincentive to invest in Scotland.

Naish continued: "The government has taken what we consider to be some damaging steps recently with a planned business rate increase and the removal of empty property rate relief, both of which erode Scotland's competitiveness on the international stage.

"Unless we bring business to Scotland we will not create the jobs or find the sustainable economic growth that the government needs to achieve its objectives for the wider society."