We need to build a Scotland with the ambition to succeed and the vision to innovate; a Scotland that invests in talent and young people; that is forward thinking and creative and crucially a Scotland with the capacity to act as a global player, at the forefront of the world stage through its high quality industries and with the confidence to attract global investment and events.

On 18 September 2014, Scotland took part in an historic independence referendum and voted to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Scottish Chambers of Commerce remained impartial during the debate and now that the referendum has been settled, our priority is to ensure that Scotland maximises the opportunities available from our constitutional status.

With the promise and nature of further devolved powers likely to be a major factor in this year’s General Election, the precise balance of reserved and devolved powers has not yet crystallised, though the recommendations of the Smith Commission provide a solid basis for planned legislation. Within this process, the clear opportunity exists to build a more confident Scotland; one which can benefit from the international prestige of being part of the UK, but at the same time forging its own path. There are many areas of our economy which could benefit from a more defined and outward looking Scottish brand and we call on the UK and Scottish Governments to work towards these goals. In particular:

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network made a number of key recommendations to the Smith Commission on the question of what Scotland should look like in terms of the devolved settlement. Our priorities were threefold:

n   to grow our economy

n   to ensure that Scotland’s people have ample opportunity to participate in and benefit from this growth, and

n   to recognise that businesses are the principal drivers of growth.

The process of devolution has been evolving since 1999, not just in Scotland but across the nations and regions of the UK. As the constitution develops, our focus, and that of government, must remain on these three guiding principles. By maintaining these, we will lay the foundations for Scotland’s future economic success.