Business benefits of Independence
More details about the opportunities for growth in the Scottish economy have been set-out by Finance Secretary John Swinney.
Mr Swinney outlined how independence could boost prosperity to an audience of academics and business experts at the Glasgow School for Business and Society today (11 June 2012).
Following on from his speech to the David Hume Institute at the beginning of the year, where he outlined the overarching economic framework for an independent Scotland, Mr Swinney demonstrated how businesses can benefit from a uniquely Scottish approach.
The Cabinet Secretary again challenged the UK Chancellor's assertion that the eurozone crisis is "killing off" economic recovery and said the UK economy is stalling because of the Chancellor's own fiscal and economic policy.
Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
"On my visits across Scotland as Finance Secretary, I see a business community that is working hard to achieve success both domestically and internationally despite the challenging economic and financial backdrop.
"The Scottish Government is providing all the support we can to these businesses under the current circumstances. Within the limited powers we have we have already ensured that Scotland has the most competitive business rates in the UK and we are now seeking to do the same with our new responsibility for property transaction taxes.
"We also continue to lobby the Chancellor to stop his emphasis on austerity and start the businesses of promoting growth with an approach based on boosting public sector capital investment, improving access to finance and encouraging new private investment; and enhancing economic security.
“I am continually reviewing the support the Scottish Government gives to economic recovery and I give the assurance that I will pursue any appropriate opportunities to take more action within the constraints available to me.
Addressing the opportunities of independence Mr Swinney said:
“Scotland is a country rich in opportunity and bursting with innovation but sadly we don't translate this often enough into greater commercial opportunities. Independence will provide us with new tools - tax credits for example - which we could use to create a step change in R & D in Scotland.
"In addition to the tax regime, an independent Scotland would have much greater scope to shape the regulatory environment so that it not only promoted greater competition, but also encouraged greater consumer choice and technical innovation.
"In an increasingly global market, Scotland's links with the international community are also key to building success. However Scotland is often one step removed from that international market and I know that business is frustrated at being forced to be directed through London to connect with Europe and beyond.
"That is why control of Air Passenger Duty would be beneficial to enable us to grow air links between Scotland and major international business hubs.
“The culture of business we can build in an independent Scotland with a ‘can do’ attitude, means taking decisions in Scotland, in the interests of Scotland. This will create a better business culture in specific to the needs of Scotland and can this in turn can build prosperity for all.
"Our plans for the referendum will give the people of Scotland the opportunity to make a clear and informed decision on our constitutional future. Independence will enable us to utilise all the economic levers to provide the stable and supportive environment Scottish businesses demand.
"It is for the people of Scotland to decide if they want to take that course."