Leaders from across Scotland's economic community are gathering in Edinburgh at the 46th SCDI Forum on Thursday 16 & Friday 17 March 2017 to discuss how Scotland can improve its economic performance at a time of continuing economic headwinds.

The First Minister's announcement that she is proposing a second referendum on Scottish independence; and the agreement of the UK Parliament that the Prime Minister can trigger Article 50 for the UK to leave the EU, create uncertainty around the operating environment for business in the coming period.

SCDI's Forum 2017 - 'Brave New Worlds? Economic Growth & Wealth Creation' - will consider how Scotland can increase productivity and build economic resilience to address current uncertainties and for the long term.

SCDI-Forum-2017-DMundellMP-KBrownMSP-Dinner-160317This Forum brings together key economic thinkers and business leaders to discuss priorities including industrial strategy, inclusive growth and international trade. The Rt.Hon David Mundell MP, The Secretary of State for Scotland, UK Government and Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs & Fair Work, The Scottish Government both spoke in a joint session at the Forum Dinner to discuss how to grow Scotland's economy through the UK Government's draft Industrial Strategy and the Scottish Government's ongoing Enterprise & Skills Review - and, of course, Brexit and a second referendum on Scottish independence, amongst a variety of economic and political themes covered by both Ministers.

SCDI Chair, Brendan Dick, said: "Changing labour markets, digitalisation and low carbon are driving the transformation of the global economy at an accelerating pace. These political and economic transitions will all significantly increase the potential risks and rewards for the economy, government and businesses. We need to continue to focus on how Scotland can best position itself to support competitiveness, investment and entrepreneurship.

"Both the UK and Scottish Governments have responsibilities for the Scottish economy and it is clear that there is a need to improve Scotland's economic growth performance in the short term and the long term to strengthen our economic resilience.

"Scotland operates in a fast changing global economy with disruptive business models and new technologies. This offers great opportunities, but there are also significant headwinds for the Scottish economy and an increasing degree of social concerns.

"The business community wants to understand in what specific areas the governments will act together to strengthen the Scottish economy and how they are going to maintain and demonstrate this joint work in what will inevitably be a polarising political context. How are they going to make progress - such as in low carbon energy, physical and digital communications, and international trade - to increase productivity?"

Claire Mack, SCDI's Director of Policy & Place, added: "The substantial productivity gap with many of our economic competitors weakens our long-term growth and living standards. A more productive and better balanced economy is an essential priority for businesses, places and society.

"The business rates revaluation on both sides of the border and the recognition around the difficulty of immediate changes to National Insurance for the self-employed have again highlighted the reality of a rapidly changing economy, disruptive businesses and new ways of working.

"We need a long-term strategy and investment in skills, innovation and infrastructure to compete globally and strengthen Scotland's place in the international market. We also need to modernise our taxation, legislation and regulation to support this transition from fragile to agile, while maintaining and increasing economic and social prosperity.

"With both the UK and Scottish Government's participating, and representatives from across Scotland's geographic and economic landscape, SCDI continues to offer leadership and be a facilitator of debate around our sustainable economic growth."