Scottish business calls for calm and stability following the EU referendum result

Written by Jenni Davidson on 24 June 2016 in News

The FSB, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Scottish Tourism Alliance and Entrepreneurial Spark have given their reactions the to EU referendum

Image credit: Press Association

Scottish business organisations have called for stability and clarity on the future of trading relationships with the EU.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) called for a focus on economic stability, while Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) have asked for calmness and leadership.  

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “We would urge a level of calmness – our products and services will continue to be traded throughout Europe and beyond. 

“The priority for Scotland now is for our Governments and businesses to carry on and show great leadership in order to stabilise the markets and begin to plan our new relationship with Europe.  

“We have been greatly reassured by the announcement from the Bank of England confirming their actions and readiness to intervene if and when necessary to ensure a stable economic environment.  This should assist with providing a level of confidence to the markets over the coming weeks.”


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She added that David Cameron’s announcement of this resignation would give business time to understand what the process of disengagement from the EU might mean. 

“Businesses need to be able to plan as far ahead as possible and the EU is a key international market, worth over £11 billion to Scottish businesses in terms of exports of goods and services,” she said, adding that an early priority should be for the UK Government to confirm what future trading arrangements with the EU and other international markets will look like.

“Businesses will also be looking to understand the potential advantages that the UK’s exit from the EU might bring.

“In particular, we are keen to understand how governments in Edinburgh and London might be able to more explicitly support Scottish businesses to win local contracts from the public sector.”

Andy Willox, FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “Scottish smaller businesses now need decision-makers to focus on economic stability. Firms in Scotland will look to the Scottish Government, as well as the UK Government and the Bank of England, to provide leadership during this period.

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s assurance that the Scottish Government, and the other devolved administrations, will be fully involved in the negotiations associated with the UK’s departure from the EU.” 

The Scottish Tourism Alliance said it was “disappointed” that the UK has voted to leave the European Union, but added that it now need to look ahead and collaborate with industry partners and the Scottish and UK governments to secure the best possible trading conditions.

Jim Duffy of business start-up incubator Entrepreneurial Spark was more positive about the result, suggesting that the EU exit would be “unlikely to reduce trading opportunities in the long term”.

He suggested the result would be welcomed by entrepreneurs who had complained of “the pain caused by EU-driven red tape”.

“Today’s news also opens huge opportunities for the SNP to relook at Scotland’s position in the wider UK, being entrepreneurial in its approach to a further independence referendum,” he added.

“The mind boggles where this could stop with renewed calls for a united Ireland and the Prime Minister expediting his exit, but, speaking from an entrepreneurial mindset perspective and sensing opportunity, there’s scope for a variety of stakeholders to seize the initiative."

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