Building a Prosperous Economy For All
BUILDING A PROSPEROUS ECONOMY FOR ALL There are 5,009 businesses in North Ayrshire. The vast majority are Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). The SNP has very clear commitments on tax avoidance, economic and industrial strategies, promoting prompt payment, inclusive growth, City Deals and the Scottish Growth Scheme. The amount of tax the UK Government fails to collect increased to a staggering £36,000 million and yet it plans tax office closures across Scotland. This threatens 2,000 Scottish jobs and will remove a vital source of information and advice for SMEs, in particular on their tax liabilities and entitlements. My SNP colleagues and I continue to oppose these closures to help support SMEs whilst bringing in vital revenue to fund our public services. Prompt payment of invoices is vital. The SNP Government led the way by paying almost 99% within 10 working days and I was delighted to co-sponsor my Ayrshire colleague Alan Brown MP’s Bill at Westminster to ensure others pay their bills promptly. We support the creation of a Small Business Commissioner and will press the UK Government to deal with retention payments in the construction industry, where the lack of action has been disastrous for some SMEs. Our economic strategy focuses on investment in skills and infrastructure; supporting business innovation; fostering inclusive growth; and internationalisation of Scotland’s economy through attracting investment and helping businesses export. This approach helps maintain and build upon our strong economic fundamentals. Scottish productivity has grown 9.4% under the SNP compared to just 0.1% across the UK, while the number of registered businesses in Scotland grew 15% to a record 223,000. Meanwhile, Scotland’s international exports increased 41% in value between 2007 and 2015. We are committed to an Industrial Strategy that takes account of Scotland’s economic challenges. There are a number of steps the UK government should take, while they hold such powers, to boost Scotland’s economy. This includes additional capital investment to support sustainable economic recovery, particularly boosting growth sectors ranging from life sciences and gaming to robotics and Artificial Intelligence to boost international competitiveness. Some Scottish communities are heavily reliant on one economic sector. We will both support communities looking to diversify and do everything possible to support existing sectors. There should be clear guidance and a mandate for the UK Small Business Commissioner to play a role in delivering the Industrial Strategy. Supporting inclusive growth remains at the heart of economic development, and central to this is addressing the UK’s gender pay gap, which must be eradicated. The SNP supports the inclusion of more women in industry, flexible working and ways to encourage women back into employment after having a family. We will also press for employment law to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament so that it can recognise and compliment the devolved skills and employability programmes in Scotland. The SNP Government has made significant contributions to successful City Deal bids across Scotland. My colleagues and I continue to seek a UK Government funding commitment to the Ayrshire Growth Deal. Meanwhile, the SNP Government’s £500m package of financial support for private sector business investment through the 3-year Scottish Growth Scheme will unlock private sector investment, which is facing increased uncertainty as a result of Brexit. Individual investment guarantees, and loans of up to £5 million are available to SMEs which would otherwise be unable to grow because of a lack of investment finance. We have confidence in Scottish business, Scottish workers and the Scottish economy and we are determined to build an economy where everyone can contribute to growth, and where everyone can share in the benefits of an economy that should bring prosperity, not further austerity.