Extending business rates relief and avoiding further income tax divergence from the rest of the UK are among the key demands from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) ahead of this week’s Scottish budget.
Tracy Black, director of CBI Scotland, has written to Finance Secretary Kate Forbes proposing a series of policies to aid business investment during the recovery from the pandemic.
This includes continuing the discounts on business rates into the next financial year, as well as altering the rates system to incentivise green investments.
The CBI also wants the Government to “avoid further divergence on income tax rates” from the rest of the UK.
It is calling for the Government to “radically scale up” its funding for workforce training in sectors which are facing shortages.
A faster rollout of electric vehicle charging points and a smart ticketing system across public transport were also recommended by the CBI.
Ms Black said: “The emergence of the new Omicron variant is undoubtedly a cause for concern and has highlighted the importance of protecting public health while we build economic recovery.
“Firms recognise that this is a difficult balance for government and will continue to do their part by putting the safety of staff and customers first as we learn to live with the virus.
“As we look to rebuild Scotland’s economy in the face of complex challenges and heightened global, and domestic, competition, we need to focus on key drivers of growth to ensure Scotland remains a top destination for talent and investment.
“That means creating an environment where business investment is rewarded, vital skills and infrastructure prized, and significant resources committed to areas like the green economy that offer the best chance for long-term success.”
She continued: “Government alone can’t deliver Scotland’s economic recovery.
“We need private enterprise, whether from home or abroad, to step up with the ingenuity, innovation and investment needed to get the economy motoring again.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said supporting the country’s economic recovery would be “at the heart” of the budget.
“We acknowledge the tough conditions Scotland’s businesses face as a result of Covid-19, which is why the Scottish Government has provided more than £4.4 billion in support,” the spokesman said.
“This year’s Budget is expected to be challenging as a result of the continued pressure on our public services and the substantial reduction in our funding from the UK Government. However, we will ensure all investment is focused on helping businesses, communities and households as Scotland continues to recover from the pandemic.”