THE successful launch of Edinburgh Trams and the end of the referendum has left the Capital “well positioned” to take advantage of the economic upturn, a business conference has heard.
Business Secretary Vince Cable delivered a speech at the inaugural Edinburgh Business Day in Gogarburn yesterday, along with Finance Secretary John Swinney, where both politicians hailed low unemployment levels and innovation across Scotland but urged businesses to improve their international exports offering.
Mr Cable said the Capital’s financial sector would be able to grow in the wake of the referendum.
“Edinburgh is great city and a historically successful city,” he said. “After all the upheaval over headquartering financial institutions, now the referendum is over and done with it is important that the financial sector can stabilise and re-establish itself as a leading centre. The problems with the trams seem to have been resolved, which is important as you need a good infrastructure.
“I think it [the referendum] did at the time create some quite serious uncertainty but now the issue has been resolved – and there was a clear result – now there is no excuse for uncertainty.”
Mr Swinney also addressed the conference, and said that after coming through the worst of the reconomic downturn, Edinburgh could be a leading light in the recovery.
“I think Edinburgh is well positioned to take advantage of the economic upturn,” he said. “It has withstood many of the worst shocks and employment levels are very high.”
The day was hailed as a success by organiser Mike Crockart MP, who came up with the idea after setting up the Edinburgh West Business Forum last year, which meets quarterly to discuss enterprise.
He said: “It’s been great having representatives here from all the sectors of the Edinburgh economy as well as the council and Scottish Entreprise. To enable Edinburgh to fulfil its full potential, we need all of these people working together to deal with the challenges of youth unemployment, exporting and to improve access to finance to support our many start-ups.”
The Liberal Democrat MP, who is a member of Westminster’s select committee on business innovation and skills, said he would be keen to see the event take place again.
Among those at the event was Ian Lebruce, who established innovative advertising company Cappucino Ads in Edinburgh in 2013.
Mr Le-Bruce said: “The Google event in particular was useful as it was stuff we kind of knew but bits and bobs we didn’t about digital marketing.”
Representatives from Craigmillar-based firm Nairn’s and Google were among those delivering talks at the event.