Scots construction skills shortage continues

Nearly two thirds of Scottish construction businesses are still reporting difficulties in recruitment because of a continued shortage of skilled workers.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce said that although the Scottish construction sector is still one of the primary drivers of growth, businesses continue to face skills shortages when they try to hire workers.

“This is one of a number of sectors where businesses are facing skills shortages, with nearly two-thirds of businesses who were hiring having experienced difficulties in recruiting,” said Liz Cameron chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

“Businesses are telling us that they are looking for education and skills providers to be developing the talents that industry needs.

“Too often an upturn in business activity is not matched by a commensurate increase in the availability of skilled workers.”

Cameron was speaking as the Scottish Chambers of Commerce presented its quarterly economic indicator, released in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute.

She said that the decline in oil prices was now having a negative impact beyond the Scottish energy sector, and that Scotland’s new tax powers should be used to generate a competitive advantage for the country, not to put the economic recovery at risk.

“As the Scottish economy heads into 2016, we do so on the back of a year that has been very mixed in terms of the fortunes of Scottish businesses,” said Cameron.

“Our latest economic indicator points to continued success for many businesses but the shadow of the continued decline in global oil prices now looks to be extending beyond those businesses operating directly in the sector.”

Cameron added: “In a year when Scotland goes to the polls to elect a new Scottish Parliament that will acquire more powers than ever over how it raises resources, it will be important to consider the impact of taxes on Scottish businesses.

“The Scottish Government has announced the doubling of the business rates supplement for larger businesses this year, whilst some politicians are also contemplating raising income tax rates, once more extensive tax powers are available to them.

“The question that our political representatives must ask themselves is whether these kind of measures will help businesses to create the kind of jobs that Scotland needs to spread wealth and prosperity and deliver the resources that Government needs to provide essential public services.

“For businesses in all sectors across Scotland, it will be important that Scotland’s new tax powers are used to generate competitive advantage, not to put the recovery at risk.”