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SCDI Comments on the Scottish Budget

Responding to the 2023-24 Scottish Budget published today by Deputy First Minister John Swinney, SCDI Chief Executive Sara Thiam said:

“At a time of acute costs pressures for people, public services and businesses, Mr Swinney’s decisions on taxes will generate the headlines.

We called for the Scottish Government to freeze on non-domestic rates and welcome this announcement.

Employers are worried about difficulties in recruiting talent, and the impact of increasing tax differences on their ability to do so must be carefully monitored if our economy is to grow.

We would, however, like to have heard a stronger explanation of how the Scottish Budget will drive the aims of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

The private sector is ready to invest, particularly in net zero. Further delays in announcements, such as of Green Freeports, are, therefore, frustrating some businesses’ plans.

The funding confirmed for investment in Natural Capital projects and the incentives for business investment are, however, positive developments.

While funding for education and skills if, of course, welcome, there is a need for a plan to address years of real-terms cuts, to support lifelong learning and an innovative society.

Public services, like the NHS, do need vital investment, but there is also scope for more innovation and value for money. There seem to have been delays in identifying options and rapid progress is now critical.”

15 December 2022