Open letter to business
Last year, I wrote to Scottish businesses to assure them that the Scottish Government is doing everything possible within our current powers to ensure Scotland remains the most competitive place to do business in the UK.
Today I have written to our businesses to outline how our Budget maintains that commitment with 57% of Scottish business properties currently paying zero or reduced business rates bills.
However, in my letter I have also explained what more Scotland could do with the economic levers available to other countries.
The latest economic indicators show that Scotland’s economy grew by 0.5% over the third quarter of last year – at the same rate as the comparable UK figure and the figures also confirmed that Scotland’s recession, while clearly damaging, was both shorter and shallower than for the UK as a whole. In fact, Scotland’s economy is closer to its pre-recession peak than the UK economy.
This has been achieved within the powers currently available to us. With independence, Scotland’s economy would benefit from the full range of fiscal and economic powers; we could build on our success by tailoring policy responses to meet the challenges and opportunities of Scotland’s economic circumstances.
In January we launched our consultation on the Scottish Government’s proposals for a referendum on independence. The referendum will be held in autumn 2014 allowing time for proper public and parliamentary consideration of the proposals for the referendum and independence so that the people of Scotland can make a fully informed choice about the future of the country.
As part of a continuing conversation on Scotland’s future the communication channels between this government and business are always open and I look forward to discussing the potential for Scotland’s economy with all of you.
My full letter is available at http://bit.ly/w0a43p