Election 2015 Scotland

Business leaders call for EU question to be settled 'quickly'

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Scottish business leaders have called for the issue of Britain's membership of the European Union to be settled "quickly and decisively" in the wake of the general election result.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce said the EU was worth £12.9bn to Scotland's exporters.

Chief executive Liz Cameron warned that the UK economy remained vulnerable to external shocks.

She was speaking as the Conservatives sealed election victory.

The party has already undertaken to hold a referendum on membership of the EU during the next parliament.

'External shocks'

Ms Cameron said: "It is now vital that the business of government resumes quickly.

"Our economy remains vulnerable to external shocks, such as the continuing Greek bailout saga and a slowdown in a number of our international target markets.

"What we don't need is extended uncertainty over our future membership of the European Union."

She added: "This market is worth £12.9bn to Scotland's exporters and the European question needs to be settled quickly and decisively.

"Here in Scotland, the election has produced a very different result to the rest of the UK, but business and our economy should remain the central driver.

"That is our message to all Scottish MPs. Let's grasp the opportunity and ensure that our politicians work more closely together as they embark on the implementation of additional devolved powers to the Scottish Parliament."

'Decisive result'

Business organisation CBI Scotland said the election result had been decisive north of the border and that firms would now be looking for devolution proposals, agreed by all parties in the draft Scotland Bill, to feature in the Queen's Speech.

Director Hugh Aitken added: "Businesses will want to see the SNP keep its focus on policies that help make Scotland more competitive, like building more new homes, keeping the UK in a reformed EU and extending the Annual Investment Allowance.

"Getting the deficit down must be a priority, to maintain the UK's credibility in international markets which will keep the cost of borrowing down for growing Scottish businesses."

'Truly stunning'

The Federation of Small Businesses congratulated the SNP on what it called "a truly stunning result", after the party won 56 out of 59 seats in Scotland.

Scottish policy convener Andy Willox said: "No matter the scale of the political sea-change, though, the big issues facing the class of 2015 remain the same: sorting out the economy, securing the recovery and backing business to create jobs and raise revenues.

"On a UK level, the fact that we have a clear winner means we are spared the threatened weeks of political wrangling and horse-trading.

"That means the new government can get straight on with delivering on the issues that matter most to Scotland's small businesses: ending the scandal of late payment; developing a more competitive banking market; and ensuring that big energy firms treat our members fairly."

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