Investment to support the energy transition, renewing our physical and digital connectivity and retaining a skilled workforce are top of the North-east business community’s agenda for the new Holyrood parliament.

These were revealed today (April 15) in Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Scottish Elections Priorities publication which sets out what North-east businesses want the next Scottish Government to prioritise.

The manifesto was developed in consultation with Chamber members ahead of the Holyrood elections on May 6 and details the support needed from the next Scottish government to drive growth and rebuild the region post-CV19.

Specific requests in the manifesto include having a clear focus on enabling business to take the lead in rebuilding our economy post-pandemic; and ensuring that devolved tax policy reduces upfront business costs, encourages investment and enhances our ability to attract and retain skilled people.

The Chamber has identified six key areas for action:

  • The need to work in partnership with the private and third sectors to rebuild the economy post-CV19
  • Ensuring devolved tax policy encourages investment and entrepreneurship
  • Investment in the region to deliver a ‘just transition’ recognising the leading role the North-east has to play in delivering national net-zero ambitions
  • Strengthening our physical and digital connectivity to safeguard our economic resilience
  • Having a clear focus on upskilling and reskilling opportunities for green jobs
  • Developing and executing focused action plans to secure the revival of our town and city centres

Copies of the manifesto will be distributed to all candidates in the Scottish Parliament Election running in the North-east, as well as being available to download from the Chamber website.

The Chamber’s policy manager Shane Taylor said: “Scotland goes to the polls on May 6 in one of the most important elections of our lifetimes. As a result of CV19 and the restrictions put in place to protect public health, our nation’s economy is at a crossroads.

“We have already lost many businesses and livelihoods with many more still at risk. The North-east has seen a disproportionate hit to employment, with the region accounting for one-third of redundancies under consultation via the Scottish Government’s PACE programme. Against this backdrop, decisions made in the coming months by our newly elected parliament will determine how we bounce back from this potentially crippling hit to our way of life and rebuild our economy quickly and sustainably.

“The Chamber has engaged with and supported thousands of businesses in the North-east during the pandemic. We are the voice of our business community and are committed to ensuring our region’s priorities are heard and acted on in the corridors of power. This manifesto summarises what our members and stakeholders have been telling us and the key priority areas we need to see action from the next Scottish Parliament on to give the North-east the best chance of playing a key role in our national recovery.

“Despite the acute challenges brought about by CV19, our region has concrete ambitions to lead the UK’s energy transition and build on our fantastic talent and skills base by diversifying further into areas like sustainable tourism and food and drink production. The North-east business community stands ready to work with the next Scottish Government, and the wider Parliament, to make those ambitions a reality.”

View and download the manifesto here

The Chamber has published the manifesto ahead of a Scottish Parliamentary Election Hustings event it is hosting on April 29 at which candidates from the main political parties will be given the opportunity to talk about their priorities and plans for the future of the region and the country as a whole.