Chamber manifesto launches with plea to next government : back N-E to energise the nation’s economy

10/06/2024
Aberdeen

FUNDING for universities, Tax reliefs, more inward migration, investment in rail and action to tackle the gender pay gap are among a raft of proposals from Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC), as it publishes its business manifesto today ahead of the General Election.

The document is entitled “Energising the nation’s economy” and lays out a series of policy priorities for the next UK government, working in partnership with business.

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The manifesto covers a range of measures to reduce the burden of business taxation, allowing enterprising companies the headroom to grow the economy and support more jobs.

With recruitment and workforce challenges are holding North-east businesses back, a raft of suggestions to address these were put to candidates, including a tailor-made immigration and visa system for Scotland designed in line with economic requirements.

On energy, the Chamber has restated its wish to see the Energy Profits Levy removed now there are no windfall profits to tax in the North Sea. In addition, AGCC suggests investment allowances for energy firms to offset investment in clean energy to turbocharge the renewables sector.

After some equivocation by Westminster, AGCC has called for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to be properly headquartered in the Aberdeen with the lion’s share of workforce based here too.

Likewise, should Labour win the keys to Number 10, AGCC expects a commitment to base GB Energy in the North-east of Scotland.

The manifesto offers solutions around streamlining planning, tackling the housing crisis, delivering food security and growing tourist trade. There is a challenge for local representatives to talk up the region’s strengths to realise inward investment opportunities from across the globe.

On transport, the manifesto calls on candidates to back reinstatement of rail from Aberdeen to Peterhead and Fraserburgh, improve journey times to and from the central belt, focus on rail freight opportunities, make key safety interventions on dangerous trunk roads and recognise Aberdeen as a key aviation hub for business.

Commenting on the publication of the manifesto, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Executive Russell Borthwick said: “While this General Election has come around a little sooner than expected, it represents a golden opportunity to remind all politicians, of all parties, at all levels of government of our priorities for change.

“Aberdeen has been Europe’s oil and gas capital for over half a century. We have anchored an innovative and enterprising supply chain in our region for decades, which has in turn driven the UK economy and allowed us to export expertise and cutting-edge technology right across the world.

“Our changing world provides the most exciting opportunity for Aberdeen since we struck North Sea oil. But only with the right support in place from government can we ensure that businesses are enabled to thrive, and our region reaps the full benefits of sustainable economic growth and the creation of high value jobs.

“We stand a far greater chance of success by working in partnership and that approach will guide our efforts over the coming weeks and as we push for delivery by the next UK Government”

The full manifesto can be read here.

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