Tackling Brexit fears head on with positive action

Tackling Brexit fears head on with positive action

ScotlandIS, the trade body for Scotland’s digital technologies industry, is calling for policy makers to take action to limit any negative impact caused by Britain leaving the EU.

Its five strategic priorities are access to markets, people, productivity, research and academia, and regulations. The call for action comes after a ScotlandIS member consultation found the majority of respondents are concerned about the impact of the EU referendum result, with three quarters predicting it will negatively impact access to skilled staff, sales, and customer confidence.

On exports, 62% anticipate a negative impact on their sales overseas, with 22% willing to consider relocating their business. Respondents were split on the question of their ability to attract growth capital, with 53% expecting a negative impact compared with 47% predicting no change or a positive impact.

Polly Purvis, chief executive of ScotlandIS, says: “Businesses in Scotland’s digital technologies sector are looking for decisive action that will reduce economic and political uncertainty, protecting sales and customer confidence. In particular, they want reassurance and certainty about the future status of EU citizens working in the UK and vice versa.

“The digital technologies industry makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy and we believe it will become even more important in coming years due to its flexibility and international outlook. Furthermore, digital technologies can help all sectors of the economy to increase productivity through, for example, business and process transformation, ecommerce and the increased use of data analytics to inform decision making. This represents an exceptional opportunity for our industry as significantly increased productivity must be one of the key strategies for Scotland’s economy to remain competitive post-Brexit.

“Negotiators must take the needs of our industry into account, including continued access to the European Single Market and to EU research funding, when agreeing the terms of our new relationship with the EU.

“While negotiations on eventual exit will take time, we want the UK and Scottish Governments to take immediate action on skills and productivity, to create a competitive workforce truly capable of meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges with a clear commitment to digital skills education for everyone. This will be more important than ever in a post-Brexit business environment.

“Tackling the productivity problem head on, together with additional and accelerated investment in the communications infrastructure, innovation challenges, export initiatives, and support to prepare companies for new markets can help to rebalance the economy. By addressing these issues now, Scotland and the UK will be in a better position whatever the final outcome of negotiations.”

 

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