SFE calls for growth forum on £14bn finance sector

Scottish Financial Enterprise CEO Sandy Begbie

Scottish Financial Enterprise will launch its general election manifesto on Monday asking all political parties to “support the sector in supercharging the economy.”

The document calls on all parties to commit to good government, fostering a thriving business environment, championing green and sustainable finance, and investing in people and skills.

It also contains a series of specific recommendations to help deliver those four objectives, including the creation of a new biannual Joint Ministerial Growth Forum between the UK and Scottish governments, a review of student visa arrangements, and the publication of a long-term tax strategy.

The manifesto will be launched at the Holyrood Sources Economy Hustings in Edinburgh on Monday, June 17. Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes, Scottish Conservative Economy Spokesperson Murdo Fraser, Scottish Labour Economy Spokesperson Michael Marra and Scottish Liberal Democrat Economy Spokesperson Willie Rennie will all be asked to give their backing to the document.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the manifesto, Scottish Financial Enterprise’s Chief Executive Sandy Begbie CBE said:“Delivering sustainable economic growth is vital if we want to raise living standards and improve public services.

“Financial and professional services in Scotland already contribute more than £14.3 billion GVA to the UK economy each year, employing almost 150,000 people in high-wage, high-skill jobs. Our sector growth strategy, published last year, outlines our plan to increase that contribution still further, adding £7 billion GVA to the UK economy each year by 2028.

“But to achieve that – and to help our sector contribute to the sustainable growth of the wider economy – we need the support of government. That means government working with and not against business, and a commitment from all parties to put economic growth at the heart of government.

“Our manifesto outlines measures such as the creation a new, biannual Joint Ministerial Growth Forum that will help business and government work together, while a long-term tax strategy will give business the confidence to invest and expand in Scotland and across the UK.

“It also includes a number of recommendations that would help us better align skills and education policy with the longer terms needs of our economy.

“Only by supporting Scotland’s financial and professional services industry can the next government help create the sustainable economic growth our country needs.”