BCC comments on statement by Scottish First Minister

14th March 2017

Commenting on the statement by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that she will seek a second Scottish independence referendum, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: -Business communities all across the UK will be thinking, first and foremost, about the additional uncertainty that a second independence referendum would generate.

-Across Scotland and throughout the UK businesses want certainty, stability and confidence from governments. Firms understandably fear that another drawn-out constitutional debate would divert both Holyrood and Westminster away from delivering real-world practical support for business, investment, and growth. Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, added: -It is welcome that the First Minister has indicated that the Scottish Government will continue to engage with the political process around the UK's withdrawal from the EU. These are vital years ahead for the future of the UK and Scottish economy and it is crucial that Scotland has a voice at the centre of this process. -Scotland has been through two referendums and two major elections over the past three years, and there is no doubt that this period of continual uncertainty has had a material impact upon businesses in Scotland. These are real and present business issues that are affecting business decisions and investment. A further referendum on Scotland's independence would be no different, and the more that can be done to mitigate the duration of this uncertainty for business, the better. The Scottish Chambers of Commerce network will continue our process of engagement with businesses across Scotland to understand how this prospect could affect them and how their voices can be most effectively articulated during this process. -In the current circumstances, businesses need as much certainty, stability and confidence as possible and it is the role of our Governments to provide it. The message from Scottish Chambers of Commerce members has been clear and consistent our priority must be to create the conditions that will enable businesses to thrive. That means focus and resources must be directed towards greater strategic infrastructure investment, developing the skills we need to sustain growth, fair business taxation that does not limit entrepreneurship and investment and clear guidance on entering and trading in overseas markets all of which must have a clear evidential basis. These are the priorities for business and must be for our Governments too. Commentary from Chamber business communities in Scotland is available from our colleagues at Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

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