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[ 11-07-2013 ]

Scottish Chambers of Commerce have today (Thursday) released their Business Survey results for the second quarter of 2013.  This broadly based survey, now in its 30th year and conducted in conjunction with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute, indicates the worst of the recession is now over and in all sectors trends in business confidence are stronger than a year ago, but the recovery still remains frail and many firms are still experiencing difficult trading conditions.
Garry Clark, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Our latest survey indicates stronger signs of an economic recovery, with more positive trends and expectations compared to a year ago.  Nevertheless demand still remains weak and much continues to depend upon a return to growth in our major export markets, increased participation in exporting by Scottish businesses and on the policies of the Scottish and UK Governments.
“There are more positives to take out of this quarter’s figures, particularly the improving business confidence and the generally stronger expectations as to business conditions over the next twelve months.  There are signs that the construction sector is continuing to improve and that tourism is having a better season than last year, with some early indications that discounting may be becoming less prevalent.
“Policies to sustain this recovery and to promote sustainable economic growth are critical. More still needs to be done to ensure that business gets the capital it needs, especially for SMEs.  The policy of the Scottish Government to maximise capital spending – now also, belatedly, being pursued by the UK Government – is extremely welcome and we believe that this investment will achieve the maximum long term benefits to the economy if priority is given to transport and affordable housing projects.  It is important that these projects include a mix of both larger and smaller contracts to maximise the opportunity for small and medium sized businesses to benefit from this investment.  Additionally, action is still required to help reduce business costs and the Scottish Government has an opportunity to reduce the burden of business rates for those small and mid-size firms which do not currently benefit from the Small Business Bonus. 
“Businesses will build for the future and find opportunities where they can, but this is much more likely in an economy where Governments introduce sensible long term policies to encourage sustainable growth.  The danger is that, in the lead up to polls in each of the next three years, politicians are tempted to focus on quick fixes rather than delivering the sustained support for growth that business needs.”
 Click here to view Q2 results