Our plan for Scotland: what it means for businesses and our economy

The First Minister has set out the Scottish Government’s plans for the next year.

Against the backdrop of the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit, here’s what the Scottish Government is doing to support businesses, grow our economy and create jobs.

  • The Scottish Growth Scheme will provide up to £500 million over three years of investment guarantees and some loans, and will be focussed on start-up companies who have the potential to grow and export more.

  • From April next year, 100,000 premises will be removed from the burden of business rates entirely. And, the government will act on the outcomes of the review of business rates that is already underway.

  • While the UK government abolished regional development agencies in England, we’ve retained our enterprise agencies in Scotland. Our review of enterprise and skills agencies will ensure they continue to deliver the support that young people, universities, colleges and businesses need.

  • In the coming year more than £572 million will be invested in affordable housing – supporting jobs and economic growth across the country.

  • We have brought forward £100 million of infrastructure spending to tackle the economic impact of Brexit and support jobs.

  • We have made energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority, and we will support it with more than £500 million of public funding over four years.

  • We will invest £90 million over the next year to ensure we deliver broadband to 95 per cent of premises by the end of 2017. And, we’ll reach 100 per cent by 2021.

  • The First Minister has confirmed the approval of European Structural Funds, meaning £650 million in investment will be delivered for communities and businesses across Scotland.

  • We’ll invest £3.5 million to establish and support Innovation and Investment Hubs in London, Dublin and Brussels. The Hubs will attract investment to Scotland and help Scottish firms access new markets.

  • Over the next year we will develop the business case for a new National Manufacturing Institute to help companies innovate and compete in international markets.

  • £12.5 million will be made available for oil and gas innovation and business support, including £10 million to reduce risks associated with research and development, and to improve access to experts.

  • We will develop a comprehensive Decommissioning Action Plan to ensure our economy gets maximum benefit from planned oil and gas decommissioning.

  • A new Energy Strategy will reaffirm our commitment to reducing energy demand and the development of renewable sources of energy.

  • We will continue to work towards increasing the number of Living Wage accredited employers to 1000 by this time next year.

  • We have set up a new Business Information Service, to provide advice and support for businesses worried about Brexit.

  • We are establishing a new Post-Referendum Business Network, bringing together the Scottish Government, the Scotland Office, the STUC and business organisations, to help shape future policy and support.

  • We will introduce a Bill to replace Air Passenger Duty. Our intention is to halve the overall level of APD by the end of this parliament to support growth and improve our connections with the rest of the world.