Led by a Constitution Committee, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has taken a robust yet politically neutral approach to gathering evidence and presenting business priorities relating to constitutional change and the further devolution of powers.
Policy not powers
The priority for Glasgow Chamber of Commerce is to focus policy and legislation on creating the conditions for economic growth, job creation and shared prosperity. We also believe this should not be mutually exclusive from the pursuit of social justice and fair social policy.
Our preferred approach is collaboration and we would endeavour to work alongside the Scottish Government and the opposition parties to help ensure the effective utilisation of further devolved powers to support and grow the Scottish economy. Whilst policy perspectives may differ we seek to provide a trusted and robust stress test to policy development and implementation.
Devolved Powers Business Advisory Group
We are seeking to ensure that policies that emanate from the devolution of the proposed powers do not undermine the principles of free trade and the movement of goods and services.
Our proposal is the formation of group that will provide an advisory and supportive role to the Scottish government and the opposition parties in the development of policy.
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce wants to support the development and implementation of policy that supports economic growth, competition and job creation at national and local levels.
Our proposed advisory body will seek to advise on economic policy as well as social policy to ensure its efficacy is maximised and consequences of the above are fully explored.
Powers to local communities
The reference to devolution beyond Holyrood in Lord Smith’s further recommendations is welcomed but we were disappointed this was not part of his main report and more explicitly explored. We believe that this process provides a unique and timely opportunity to strengthen the powers of Scotland’s cities, city regions and local communities.
To enable decision making at city level on for example infrastructure, skills development, the labour market, colleges and sectoral investment would transform the city and regional economies and drive local and national economic growth. It would mean a far more diverse and dynamic economy and enable Scotland to lead in the UK and catch up with the rest of the EU - 17% of local money is raised locally in the UK, 55% is the average across the OECD.
Our view is that the Smith Commission recommendations were not explicit or ambitious enough in this area. We would argue that this should form the backbone of new legalisation enabling the development of ambitious and far reaching devolution of power from Holyrood to the cities, city regions and beyond.