Retailers and Scotland as a whole benefit from an open, outward-looking and liberal approach to trade. In advance of the completion of the Brexit negotiations the SRC would encourage both the UK and Scottish administrations to draw up an inventory of the EU regulatory powers which will be repatriated to the Scottish Parliament, and for the devolved government to clearly set out its likely policy approach to be taken in these areas.
The devolved administration should build on its welcome and positive message of engagement with business following the Brexit vote by prioritising tangible action on domestic policy. The Scottish Government and Parliament as a whole must look closely at the increased burdens facing retailers and take steps to support the industry and promote growth. Top of the agenda should be work with retailers to deliver an industry strategy which sets out a clear road-map for future tax and regulatory changes. Ministers should press ahead with fundamental reform of business rates, scrap the unfair and arbitrary £62.4 million annual Large Business Rates Surcharge which affects 21,000 firms (including 5,000 retail premises), and ensure firms paying the Apprenticeship Levy directly benefit from it. We also believe ministers should aid consumer confidence by keeping down personal taxes.