Posted by

Liz Cameron, Director and Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce

21 Apr 2015

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Economic Indicator provides the results from Scotland for the British Chambers’ Quarterly Economic Survey.

We had 643 firms in total take part in our latest Quarterly Economic Indicator, the highest number for over 10 years and composed of businesses from the 5 covered sectors of Construction, Financial & Business Services, Manufacturing, Retail & Wholesale and Tourism.

The results show that growth levels across most sectors have eased considerably compared with the final quarter of last year, but there are still many indicators pointing towards an improved performance from Scotland’s businesses going forward.

Sales revenue and profits declined noticeably in the Construction and Tourism sectors and, although revenues grew for Financial & Business Services, Manufacturing and Retail & Wholesale firms, all increased at lower rates than in the previous quarter. Employment levels were also muted, with employment growth weaker than at the end of 2014 across all sectors.

It is encouraging however that spending on investment increased in every sector. Alongside improved productivity, Scotland’s economy can only fuel long term economic growth through increasing capital and labour inputs. If we want to encourage businesses to continue to invest and to stimulate much needed consumer demand, we alongside our colleagues at British Chambers, are resolute that interest rates must not be raised above current levels at least for the remainder of this year.

When business is successful, Scotland is successful; and this can only be achieved through breaking down the barriers that limit the success of our businesses. We need governments in Edinburgh and London that will not only listen to the concerns and needs of business, but that follow through on pre-election commitments.

Whatever the outcome of the General Election, the priorities of Scottish businesses are clear: we need action to open up international opportunities, to ensure a more appropriate skills mix, to deliver more effective connectivity and to reduce the tax burden on businesses. Scotland’s private sector is growing but we need to get the business environment right to secure its long term success.