SCC President Urges ‘Economic Coalition’ between Business & Political Leaders to Rebuild Scotland’s Economy
In his first Scottish Business Address to the Scottish business community, Stephen Leckie, President of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said that growth, competitiveness, and a global outlook are essential ingredients for Scotland’s success.
Speaking at the biggest-ever event of 500+ attendees and 275 companies, Stephen was joined by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who also addressed the audience for the first time since the pandemic.
Setting out the top priorities for the Scottish business community, Stephen Leckie outlined: “We, the Scottish business community, focus on growth, competitiveness and global outlook. We believe these are essential ingredients for Scotland’s success. We have seen how business and Governments have rallied together throughout the pandemic and this serves as a blueprint for future collaboration between private and public sector. In an increasingly polarised world, we must build on this platform as a mechanism to inform and influence joint policy-making and impacts. Governments cannot drive growth or create value alone, nor can businesses. Our message to all Governments is to view business as partners; invest in us, work with us and support us.”
On the Costs Crisis, Stephen Leckie said: “The cost-of-living crisis has switched to a cost of doing business crisis. For months now, businesses have been experiencing huge increases in input costs and our request to Government is that businesses cannot reach for the ambition which I know they so passionately believe in, without Government’s intervention north and south of the border. The cost-of-living crisis will take many lives and even more livelihoods and it calls for leadership and long-term thinking. The consequences of getting policy choices wrong now could resonate for years.”
On private and public sector collaboration, Stephen Leckie said: “We compete for talent and customers, for trade and market access and compete for the game changing policy ideas – these are the defining challenges for this generation of business leaders. We have two fundamentals of a successful economy at our fingertips – an entrepreneurial private sector that creates value and jobs, and second, a pro enterprise policy framework that encourages and nurtures entrepreneurship. Work these two together with Scottish and UK Government and we can compete globally and can come out winning.”
Calling for an ‘Economic Coalition’, Stephen Leckie concluded: “I urge the First Minister and Prime Minister to forge an Economic Coalition with the business community and place the economy, business and jobs to the top of the political agenda. We want more investment in Scotland, we want more businesses to be here, and for people to be attracted to come and live here. We want it to be a known fact that Scotland is one of the best places in the world to do business. It hasn’t always felt like that in recent years. We must restore it.”
Commenting ahead of addressing the Scottish business community, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I’m pleased to be attending the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Annual Business Address this evening to recognise and celebrate the vital work of the Chambers network across Scotland. There is no doubt that their expertise helps to grow local economies, provide local employment, and be a key source of advice and support to businesses, particularly through the hard times of the COVID-19 pandemic and current cost crisis.
“We know that a successful business sector is essential to our aspirations for our fairer, greener and more resilient country – and the Scottish Government will continue doing everything we can to support that sector. We will continue to call on the Treasury to provide more effective support during the current cost crisis, and we will get on with delivering our National Strategy for Economic Transformation.
“The Scottish Government remains committed to listening to and working with businesses and business organisations across the country. We value their expertise, and we understand how committed they are – not just to their own businesses, but to the communities that they are part of.”
Other business speakers on the evening included:
Director at DC Thomson
CGI Vice President Scotland
Chief Executive Officer, ESO Sports
Dr Hina Khan,
Senior project manager at Spire Global UK
Dr Liz Cameron CBE,
Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce