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Survey wakeup call for politicians either side of the Scottish referendum debate

images (77)A quick look at most major internet jobs sites quickly confirms the availability of large numbers of accountancy roles in Glasgow and Edinburgh, for example, the two major cities perched at either end of Scotland’s vibrant Central Belt. Indeed, most observers would say, almost casually, there’s nothing much new in that. And, of course, they would be correct. Both cities have traditionally commandeered the cream of white collar jobs given their importance to the Scottish economy.

Businesses in Scotland

Scottish companies operate across a huge range of sectors, from banking and finance to oil and gas, tourism, food and drink, agriculture, shipbuilding, construction and many others. Taken together, they are expected to generate Scottish GDP worth an estimated £148 billion in 2014. The figure includes a share of North Sea oil and gas revenues.

According to Scottish government figures, there were an estimated 343,105 private sector enterprises operating in Scotland as at March 2013. Almost all of these enterprises (98.3%) were small (0 to 49 employees); 3,705 (1.1%) were medium-sized (50 to 249 employees) and 2,270 (0.7%) were large (250 or more employees). These percentage shares have remained relatively stable since 2000.

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The 340,840 SMEs operating in Scotland employed an estimated 1.1 million people. SMEs, says the Scottish government, accounted for 99.3% of all private sector enterprises and accounted for 54.7% of private sector employment and 36.7% of private sector turnover.

Small enterprises (0 to 49 employees) alone accounted for 42.3% of private sector employment and 23.6% of private sector turnover. The 2,270 large enterprises (250+ employees) operating in Scotland accounted for 45.3% of private sector employment and 63.3% of private sector turnover.

Scottish independence referendum

It’s the hot topic in Scotland at the moment and it’s one which business is eyeing keenly. No one is in any doubt independence, if it comes, will have a profound effect on the business landscape. The UK government is painting a bleak picture if Scots vote to go it alone on September 18 while pro-independence supporters are calling independence the opportunity of a lifetime.

Survey wakeup call

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has just completed a major survey of Scottish business opinion on the issues surrounding the referendum. The results, says the SCC, make for essential reading and should be a wakeup call to politicians and campaigning groups that they need to do much better.

Commenting on the survey findings, Liz Cameron, chief executive of the SCC, said, “It is clear that businesses are distinctly unimpressed with the quality of the referendum debates so far, with 56% rating them as poor or worse. The various political analyses do not seem to be hitting the mark as far as business is concerned.

“There is a clear message that with just four months left before voters go to the polls, politicians and the campaigning groups need to considerably step up their game. We urge the campaigns to rethink their engagement strategy and come forward with direct answers. We challenge each political party to detail which powers it would bring to Scotland, when, and how it would use these to Scotland’s economic benefit.

“This is a pivotal time for Scotland’s economic and social future. We are beginning to experience an upward trend in our economy, but business deserves better and all politicians should approach this debate with mutual respect and not petty point scoring.”

Check out the latest news from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce here.


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