Scotland business

Business grows more 'pessimistic'

Containers being loaded on to ship
Image caption The Scottish Chambers of Commerce called on politicians to continue to support exporters

Business activity is stalling in Scotland, according to a survey by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC).

The survey of 200 firms found they were "increasingly pessimistic" in all sectors, reflecting growing uncertainty about an economic recovery.

On Tuesday, UK government figures showed growth nearly stalled in Scotland in April to June this year.

In the third quarter, the chambers of commerce figures suggest it stayed very weak and prospects worsened.

The business survey, carried out in conjunction with the Fraser of Allander Institute at Strathclyde University, found the majority of both wholesalers and retailers were pessimistic about trading conditions.

In the retail sector, more than two-thirds of businesses reported a drop in sales, with more than 70% expecting further decline.

Garry Clark, head of policy and public affairs at the SCC, said: "The world economy has suffered a series of serious shocks over the past few months and it is evident that domestic growth has been stagnant for much of the year."

'Wrong-headed' policy

Mr Clark pointed to three areas where government could make "a big difference with relatively small investment".

He called on politicians to continue to support exporters and increase the number of businesses which trade internationally.

The chamber also suggested investment in affordable housing would "support our construction sector, meet social needs and contribute to the redevelopment and revival of our town centres across Scotland".

Finally, it called for money to spent on the country's transport infrastructure.

Mr Clark also called on the UK government to devolve air passenger duty to Scotland to allow Holyrood ministers to "develop a coherent policy to connect Scotland to our international markets".

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "This survey is further evidence of the urgent need for the UK government to deliver a Plan MacB approach, to ensure that the recovery we are building here in Scotland is not derailed by Westminster's wrong-headed economic policy."

She added that Scottish government policies were "making a difference", stating ministers were "taking practical measures to boost employment and strengthen recovery".

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