SCDI welcomes Scottish Government’s Programme for Government

SCDI welcomes the major economic policy announcements in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2019-20.

Among the 12 new Bills which will be laid before Holyrood over the next 12 months, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP confirmed that there will be legislation to establish the Scottish National Investment Bank and a South of Scotland Enterprise Agency for the Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. Economic and Skills Action Plans will be developed to shape this and other work to deliver inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The First Minister also announced a series of measures which respond to the recommendations in Scotland’s Big Mo – the recently published report from SCDI’s Connectivity Commission –  for Scotland to seize the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in automation, artificial intelligence and digitisation for green and smart mobility. The Scottish Government will invest £2 million to support the testing of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), in addition to support for the research, development, demonstration and deployment of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and nearly £17 million for 1,500 more electric vehicle charging points and 100 electric buses across the country.

Director of Policy and Public Affairs Matt Lancashire said:

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government as a step forward to delivering increased social and economic prosperity for Scotland.

“The MaaS concept has the potential to deliver an integrated, seamless and smart public transport system fit for the 21st century, delivering improved connectivity and reduced emissions, so we are delighted that the First Minister has committed to testing it here in Scotland. We support further action to put Scotland at the vanguard of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The commitment to establish a Scottish National Investment Bank to provide patient capital for Scottish businesses will be strongly supported by many of our members. We look forward to working with the Bank to engage stakeholders and partners on how ensure it is sufficiently financed and empowered to deliver on its transformational potential.

“SCDI has been increasingly active in the South of Scotland, where our members have a keen interest in the new enterprise agency and are determined to see it succeed. We hope to play our part in helping the agency to drive inclusive growth in the South and connect the region to wider inward investment opportunities across Scotland, the UK and beyond.

“Lastly, we look forward to continuing and constructive dialogue with the Scottish Government to feed-in the views of our members from all sectors and all geographies of the Scottish economy into the Economic Action Plan to be published this October and the Skills Action Plan to be launched in spring 2019.”

In addition, it was confirmed that there will be a Non-Domestic Rates Bill to deliver the recommendations of the Barclay Review, and a Consumer Protection Bill to establish a new statutory body, Consumer Scotland, tasked with defending the rights, welfare and interests of consumers. SCDI is already engaging with its diverse membership to gauge their views on both of these issues and welcomes input from members and partners.