Scottish Business Voice: A Globally Connected Scotland
[ 23-04-2015 ]
The Scottish Business Voice - a campaign led by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network, presents its “asks” as part of the General Election debate.
SCC’s focus today (23rd April 2015), shines the spotlight on much needed investment in our infrastructure and wider connectivity.
Scottish Business calls for:
- ?By 2020, Scotland must lead the world in terms of digital connectivity, both in terms of geographic availability and in upload and download speeds.
- The provision of air route marketing support to all of Scotland’s airports by 2016.
- Immediate implementation of the Airports Commission’s recommendations on the expansion of the UK’s hub airport capacity, including Scotland’s access to this.
- The immediate devolution and abolition Air Passenger Duty - an unfair tax on investment and jobs.
- ??The speedy development of Scotland’s ports to take advantage of future opportunities, in particular in the energy sector.
- ?A commitment to increased road infrastructure investment within the Infrastructure Investment Plan, with improvements to be delivered on key national and regional roads in Scotland, with a particular focus on the A1, A9, A96, A82, A77 and A75, to be delivered by 2025.
- ?An effective maintenance programme to ensure our existing infrastructure is fit for purpose.
- ?A review of the Scottish Government’s Road Equivalent Tariff scheme to treat commercial vehicles fairly.
- Dualling of single track sections of railway which are inhibiting the development of services, particularly in the north and north east of Scotland, to be completed by 2025.
- Priority connection of Scotland to the future UK High Speed Rail network by 2035.
Liz Cameron OBE, Director and Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:
“A connected economy is a successful economy and if Scottish businesses are to maximise our competitiveness then we will need our Governments to invest in the transport links and digital connections that make doing business possible. Scotland needs better connectivity between our towns and cities, better links to the rest of the UK, better international links and better access to higher quality digital networks. If these are to be delivered then it will take the efforts of both the Scottish Government and the UK Government to get this right.
“There are many parts of our road and rail network that are still not fit for purpose, particularly in the North and North East of Scotland. A programme of road upgrading must continue and we need faster progress on local road improvements which are necessary for the sustainability and growth of regional economies such as the Berriedale Braes in Caithness. Meanwhile our antiquated rail infrastructure is holding back public transport improvements linking Inverness, Aberdeen, Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
“For too long, successive UK Governments have dodged their responsibility to tackle the chronic congestion at airports in the South East of England. This is damaging for Scottish businesses because it is putting pressure on airlines to move away from less profitable domestic services and is limiting the expansion of long haul routes to key business markets such as China. The next UK Government must act immediately to put the Airports Commission’s recommendations into effect. We simply cannot afford any more delay on these necessary decisions.
“Equally as important as our transport links is our digital connectivity. Businesses rely on internet access for both marketing and sales. That is why we must have world class digital infrastructure, not just in terms of speed of connection but also in terms of mobile and Wi-Fi accessibility. Other countries are stealing a march on us in this area and it will take concerted investment from the UK and Scottish Governments and from the private sector to turn this around and regain the initiative.”
Scottish Chambers of Commerce is an international Network of Scottish businesses: the most influential and connected, with over 11,000 member businesses across a national Chamber Network. Our unparalleled contribution is strengthened by our responsive business insight and economic intelligence and our unrivalled local knowledge and business to business connections, making us Scotland’s most powerful business Network.
Press Office: Charandeep Singh: 07984495871 / 01412048316
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