SNP welcome Scottish business calls on UK Budget

The SNP has welcomed comments from business organisations in Scotland calling for the Chancellor to make tackling unemployment and easing the credit squeeze key areas in Wednesday’s Budget.

Improving access to credit for businesses, cutting air passenger duty and fuel prices and prioritising capital investment projects are all top items to address for Scottish businesses in the coming budget.

Speaking in the Herald today (Monday), the FSB’s Stuart McKinnon urged George Osborne to improve access to credit for businesses and cut fuel prices - "From a Scottish perspective one of the key issues is new non-banking finance for the business community," he said.

He also said: "Obviously the price of fuel at the pumps is having an impact on many small businesses out there, and any move to ease the pressure on petrol and diesel costs would be most welcome."

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce is calling for a rethink on the raising of Air Passenger Duty, which it says compromises the competitiveness of Scottish airports, and SCDI Chief Executive Dr Lesley Sawers said: "This Budget should prioritise increased capital investment, especially infrastructure projects which generate a short-term stimulus and enhance GDP growth in the long-term, and measures to stimulate private investment."

Paul Wheelhouse, SNP MSP for South Scotland, who also sits on the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee, said:

“These calls from Scottish business organisations chime with the SNP’s stance on the Chancellor’s Budget.

“George Osborne should listen to these calls and make cutting fuel prices, tackling unemployment and investing in capital projects a priority for Wednesday’s budget.

“The Budget also must detail solutions to tackle the funding squeeze on small businesses, which play a pivotal role in driving growth.

“Only today new statistics show further improvement in the jobs market, with the fastest rise in permanent placements since October.

“And I also welcome Sir Tom Hunter’s announcement that he is extending a scheme to help start-up companies that gives new firms advice, free office accommodation, IT access and mentoring.

“The Chancellor must capitalise on this current positivity within the business sector, not damage it.”