IoD Scotland survey: 82% of Scottish business leaders concerned over tax divergence with rest of UK

IoD director general Jonathan Geldart and chair of Aberdeen and Grampian branch Sarah Downs.

NEW figures published on 25 March by the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland show the state of play for Scottish businesses in 2024.

The annual IoD ‘State of the Nation Directors Survey’ asked cross-sector leaders from businesses of all sizes  for their current position on a range of issues facing Scottish firms.

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The 2024 survey has highlighted new concerns for leaders over the additional tax band announced at the Scottish budget in December 2023.  The introduction of a sixth tax bracket, compared to the rest of the UK’s three, means those earning over £75k annually will be taxed at a rate of 45% as of 6 April 2024.

Of the 82% who expressed concern over this further divergence with the UK, nearly 40% (39%) noted that staff recruitment was likely to be impacted the most; 34% said employee’s choice of location would be a concern, and 27% are worried about the impact on inward investment.

While 61% of members said they have the right number of skilled people for current jobs (2023:54% ),  only half (54%) reported that they were confident of being able to recruit sufficient skilled staff in the next 12 months (2023: 57%)

Respondents to the IoD’s ‘State of the Nation Directors Survey’ in Aberdeen and Grampian showed an increased level of concern about potential skills shortages driven by Scotland’s approach to taxation.

According to the survey, branch members in the north-east were less confident in the ability of their organisation to recruit those with the right skills in the coming year (42% compared with the 54% membership average).

IoD Aberdeen and Grampian chair Sarah Downs said:

“Taxation on the energy industry has long been a political football but what these figures show is how personal taxation is also an issue for employers and employees alike in the north-east where energy firms make up a significant part of the economy as well as IoD membership.

“This should send a message to policymakers about the importance of attracting and retaining skills, particularly at this critical time when we are looking for growth in green jobs to support the transition to a low carbon energy system.

“Leaders clearly see Scotland’s tax regime as yet another barrier to attracting and retaining talent – and encouraging investment.”

The 2024 State of the Nation Directors Survey was open to responses from members of the Institute of Directors in Scotland from 22nd January 2024 until 4th March 2024. In that time approximately 180 directors responded to the survey. No responses were disqualified from inclusion.

The full report can be downloaded here

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