Responding to the First Minister’s Programme for Government statement today, and plans to publish a new draft bill before the election on the timing of another referendum on breaking up the UK, Scottish Business UK CEO Struan Stevenson said: 

“While she claims she is launching a ‘national mission’ to protect and create jobs, instead the First Minister is reheating and prioritising the eternal nationalist mission to partition the UK. By setting aside the valuable time of civil servants to draft and publish yet another referendum bill before the end of the parliament, ministers are setting a timeline of risk and uncertainty which will needlessly undermine business confidence and recovery.

“Last week the Scottish Government released annual expenditure and revenue figures that showed the true scale of the challenge the country faces to re-establish sustainable public finances and economic growth. The implicit budget deficit is estimated by the IFS to hit 26-28 percent in the next year, which is unsustainable. Fully 100 percent of the government’s focus should be on working in partnership with the UK government to address those challenges.

“Business leaders – and the SME owners in particular that the First Minister mostly ignored in her statement today – will take note and regret the additional distraction and risk this threatens to set in store for them after the next election.”


Contact: Peter Smyth –  

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