Business for Scotland criticises CBI Scotland’s ‘call for austerity’

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp
Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp

New CBI Scotland director Hugh Aitken’s calls for austerity to be a priority for the new SNP MPs have been criticised by Business for Scotland.

In his statement on the SNP election performance, Mr Aitken said: “Businesses will want to see the SNP keep its focus on policies that help make Scotland more competitive, like building more new homes, keeping the UK in a reformed EU and extending the Annual Investment Allowance.

“Getting the deficit down must be a priority, to maintain the UK’s credibility in international markets which will keep the cost of borrowing down for growing Scottish businesses.”

Business for Scotland accused the CBI of effectively calling for austerity to be a priority and instead called for the SNP to make Full Fiscal Responsibility and more powers a priority so the country can invest in growth and job creation rather than more cuts.

Credibility in international markets, it argued, will be driven by growth, job creation, increased exports and the resultant reduction in the demand for welfare, which will reduce the deficit on a % of GDP basis and allow for longer term more sustainable and less socially harmful fiscal management.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, CEO of Business for Scotland, said the CBI’s call for austerity measures to be implemented in Scotland would slow down Scotland’s economic growth, damage credibility in international markets and could increase the cost of borrowing for business across the UK and reduce cashflow.

He added: “One thing is clear, with each of the three parties that support austerity reduced to only one MP each, Westminster has no mandate to implement austerity upon Scotland. Scotland needs to powers to invest in economic growth and job creation.

“The CBI’s support for austerity would be counterproductive and is out of step with the business and political mood in Scotland.”

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