Retailers and Scotland as a whole benefit from an open, outward-looking and liberal approach to trade. We welcome the intention of the UK Government to involve the Scottish administration in its approach to the Brexit negotiations. In advance of the completion of the negotiations the SRC would encourage both administrations to draw up an inventory of the EU regulatory powers which may be repatriated to the UK and Scottish parliaments and agree the likely approach which will be taken.
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 – retailers were already facing a challenging landscape before the referendum. 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 29,000 firms, and ensure firms paying the Apprenticeship Levy directly benefit from it. We also believe ministers should aid consumer confidence by keeping a firm grip on personal tax rates and by shelving the mooted Scotland-only deposit return scheme for drinks containers.