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WEAKENING BUSINESS AND CONSUMER CONFIDENCE TOGETHER WITH FEWER SIGNS OF AN ECONOMIC RECOVERY UNDERLINE THE NEED FOR A NEW PLAN FOR GROWTH

[ 20-10-2011 ]

Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) have today (Thursday) released their Business Survey results for the third quarter of 2011.  The survey, conducted in conjunction with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute, suggests a stalling of the fragile recovery, weakening business confidence as growth slows in our major export markets and consumer confidence remains depressed.  SCC propose a three point plan to stimulate the recovery and promote future growth.   
 
Garry Clark, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
 
“The world economy has suffered a series of serious shocks over the past few months and it is evident that domestic growth has been stagnant for much of the year.  Whilst it is understandable that much of Scottish businesses are increasingly pessimistic about future prospects it is important to recognise that the Scottish tourist industry has had a good summer, despite the weather, and that exports continue to bolster our manufacturing sector. 
 
“The priority for the Edinburgh and London Governments must be to act to secure the best possible prospects for higher long term rates of growth in our economy and to support those businesses which have the capacity to succeed.  Action to reduce the deficit is necessary, but we must still invest for future growth of our businesses and our economy.  We believe that there are three areas where government can make a big difference with relatively small investment.
 
“Firstly we must continue to support our exporters and increase the number of businesses trading internationally.  The value of sterling has given us a key advantage in international markets over the past few years and this is something we must develop further.  Secondly we must invest in affordable housing.  This is necessary to support our construction sector, meet social needs and contribute to the redevelopment and revival of our town centres across Scotland.
 
“Finally we must invest in our transport infrastructure.  This year, many of our tourist members have highlighted our transport system as a constraint to growth and it is time we heeded this warning for the sake of our wider economy.  We recognise that the Scottish Government have acted to boost available resources for capital investment and we urge them to prioritise key transport projects that will help unblock the clogged arteries of our road and rail networks.  There are numerous examples of these across the country and the return on investment would be significant.  In addition, we urge the UK Government to devolve Air Passenger Duty to allow the Scottish Government to develop a coherent policy to connect Scotland to our international markets.”

Click here to view Quarter 3 results.
 

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