Finance Secretary Kate Forbes to meet Edinburgh business leaders over Capital's recovery from Covid

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has agreed to meet Edinburgh business leaders after they published a manifesto setting out proposals to help the Capital's recovery from Covid.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 4:55 am

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The Edinburgh Business Resilience Group, which includes banks, universities, major companies and the festivals, called for an accelerated return to workplaces, support for businesses “stifled” by debt, increased investment in skills and reform of business rates.

The manifesto also urged a comprehensive aviation strategy, more business investment in the arts and a new body Edinburgh Means Business as a one-stop shop for business support.

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Kate Forbes has agreed to meet the Edinburgh Business Resilience Group
Kate Forbes has agreed to meet the Edinburgh Business Resilience Group

And they said they wanted to "reset" the relationship between business and policymakers at national and local level.

The group is chaired by Ian Marchant, former chief executive of utility giant Scottish and Southern Energy, and includes more than 60 organisations including RBS, Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Forth Ports, Edinburgh Airport, Harvey Nichols, PwC, Festivals Edinburgh, the Military Tattoo and the St James Quarter.

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It welcomed the Finance Secretary’s move. Joanne Davidson, who is director of policy at the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and helped put the manifesto together, said: “Kate Forbes has agreed to meet us to discuss our Prospectus for Growth. We see that as a really positive and proactive response on her part and we are delighted.”

The city council has also signalled its willingness to work with the group. Depute council leader Cammy Day said the council welcomed the work the Chamber of Commerce and others in pulling together the manifesto and looked forward to further productive work with them as part of a “Team Edinburgh” approach with businesses, universities, the cultural and third sectors.

The Scottish Government confirmed the Finance Secretary was planning to meet the business leaders “soon” and said she was looking forward to discussing their plans.

A spokesperson said: “As we continue to move out of lockdown, we are pushing forward with an ambitious agenda of recovery and economic transformation that builds upon the £3.6 billion in Scottish Government support to business since the start of the pandemic.

"We are committed to working with businesses, trades unions and workforces to build an economy for everyone by delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity."

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