Task­force to close UK eco­nomic re­sults gap

Launch: Sup­port for Scot­tish busi­ness

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - BUSINESS - BY KEITH FIND­LAY

Scot­tish Sec­re­tary David Mun­dell has launched a “busi­ness task­force” to ad­vise the UK Gov­ern­ment on eco­nomic and in­dus­trial pol­icy north of the bor­der.

Former Scot­land Of­fice min­is­ter Lord Dunlop will chair a group of lead­ing fig­ures with ex­pert knowl­edge of Scot­land’s busi­ness and econ­omy, Mr Mun­dell said yes­ter­day, adding the mem­ber­ship would be an­nounced “shortly”.

He added: “The UK Gov­ern­ment’s new Scot­tish busi­ness task­force will pro­vide ex­pert ad­vice and guid­ance on how best to strengthen Scot­land’s econ­omy.

“We know that Scot­land’s eco­nomic per­for­mance lags be­hind the rest of UK, and we need to close that gap.

“As we de­velop our am­bi­tious in­dus­trial strat­egy and ne­go­ti­ate new trade deals with Europe and around the world, this ex­pert panel will pro­vide in­sight from a range of Scot­tish busi­ness sec­tors.”

He made the an­nounce­ment ahead of a trip to Paraguay and Ar­gentina to pro­mote Scot­tish busi­ness in­ter­ests, and build cul­tural and ed­u­ca­tional links.

Scot­tish firms al­ready do sub­stan­tial busi­ness in South Amer­ica – Scotch whisky, for ex­am­ple, ex­ports more than £14mil­lion and £12mil­lion a year to Paraguay and Ar­gentina re­spec­tively.

There are also Scot­tish com­pa­nies keen to take ad­van­tage of op­por­tu­ni­ties in Paraguay’s dy­namic agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

Mr Mun­dell said: “As we pre­pare to leave the EU, we want to build and strengthen our trade re­la­tion­ships with friends and part­ners old and new, and I am cer­tain Scot­tish com­pa­nies will be at the fore­front of this.

“Scot­land’s skills, prod­ucts and ser­vices are highly re­garded glob­ally, and we can build on that as we strike am­bi­tious new trade deals around the world.

“I am trav­el­ling to South Amer­ica ... to bang the drum for Scot­tish busi­nesses, tak­ing the mes­sage to th­ese mar­kets that Scot­land’s com­pa­nies have the skills, prod­ucts and ex­per­tise they need.”

BACK­ING: David Mun­dell wants to ‘bang the drum’ for Scot­tish busi­nesses

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