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ICAEW Scotland sets out 2021 election priorities for sustainable growth

Author: ICAEW

Published: 29 Apr 2021

Thursday 29 April 2021: ICAEW Scotland has set out its main priorities for the Scottish Government ahead of the upcoming elections in May.

Focusing on sustainable growth through investment, ICAEW Scotland has identified four priorities the new Scottish Government should focus on in the next parliamentary period, which it has captured in a new report. They are:

  • To design devolved taxes to encourage enterprise
  • Supporting infrastructure investment
  • Encouraging businesses to take action on climate risk
  • Boosting skills, through support for remote learning and leveraging Scotland’s skills base

ICAEW Scotland said that devolved taxes should be used to encourage enterprise, and that 
aiming for more certain, simple and competitive taxes, consistent with the rest of the UK, would bring better engagement with stakeholders. It also called for the Scottish Government to consider the impact on the design of the Scottish tax system should VAT be devolved, and for reform to the non-domestic rates system.

To boost infrastructure, there should be more innovation in finance and in public investment through best use of the Scottish National Investment Bank. Greater access to capital would also be key.

With COP26 set to take place in Glasgow in November, ICAEW outlined opportunities for Scotland to lead the way on achieving a green recovery. The report reflected on how business owners and their advisors, including SMEs, could recognise that climate was an issue relevant to them, and the role of regulation by financial institutions.

On skills, ICAEW Scotland urged the continuation of support for universities’ strategic commitment to enterprise and entrepreneurship, with improved remote learning facilitated by specific investment for broadband. It also called for further support for skills, infrastructure and financial incentives for key areas of innovation in Scotland.

The priorities were identified by some ICAEW Scotland members, with support from the Institute’s Corporate Finance and Tax Faculties, as well as the Business and Industrial Strategy team.

David Bond, ICAEW Regional Director for Scotland, said:

“It’s crucial that the next Scottish Government brings our country through this critical recovery period while laying the foundations for a sustainable future economy. 

“We think that by focusing on devolved taxes, infrastructure, climate risk and skills, the next Scottish Government will be able to implement a successful strategy for the next decade.

“It will be vital that politicians work closely with our businesses to plan a path to a sustainable economic recovery and vibrant future.”

ICAEW has more than 1,600 members in Scotland, located in every parliamentary constituency.

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