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SCDI welcomes support for business in today’s UK budget but remain concerned about low projected growth rates

Responding to an initial reading of today’s budget, Sara Thiam, SCDI CEO said:

“We welcome the focus on ‘prosperity with a purpose’ which aligns to SCDI’s mission for sustainable and inclusive growth, and the measures announced to help Scottish businesses invest for the future. However, with output still expected to contract this year and grow by only 1.8% in 2024, we remain concerned whether the planned measures will go far enough.

We welcome the announcement that at least one investment zone will be created in Scotland. We urge the UK and Scottish Governments to work together on this plan in order that the delays in establishing Green Freeports in Scotland will not be repeated.  Full  capital expensing  for investments in digital, plant and machinery is a positive step which will  boost  productivity, but there is a risk that if it not made permanent it will bring forward rather than permanently increase investment. Furthermore, with more limited support for business energy bills from 1 April and corporation tax reverting to 25% for most some businesses will struggle to find the resources to make the capital investment required to benefit from reliefs.

The major increase in funding for carbon capture and storage is excellent news and we call for an announcement approving support for the ACORN project in North East Scotland without further delay.

We agree there is a need to increase our energy security in light of global events but are concerned that we have missed a major opportunity for a more significant investment or incentives to sustainably reduce our energy demand by retrofitting the UK’s homes and buildings.

We are deeply disappointed that  the tax burden on a typical bottle of whisky will rise to 75% and that the Government’s promise to “review alcohol duty to ensure our tax system is supporting Scottish whisky” and its supply chain in rural communities has not been fulfilled.

We look forward to further details of the spending commitments and  will discuss with the Scottish Government  how to invest the extra £320m in funding it has been allocated .”

15 March 2023