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BCC reaction to Smith Commission’s report

Commenting on the Scottish devolution report issued by Lord Smith’s commission, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of commerce (BCC) said:  

“It is pleasing to see the findings from the commission have been shaped through consultation with Scottish businesses and Chambers of Commerce. The voice of business must continue to be heard as the devolution process moves forward.  

“The commission’s recommendation to devolve further tax powers to Scotland will provide Holyrood with greater powers to boost economic growth, create jobs and deliver future prosperity. However, any devolution deal must avoid creating unintended barriers to trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Businesses on either side of the border rely on the free movement of goods and services, and any divergence in levels of regulation and tax could harm the future growth prospects of firms. Politicians must take this opportunity to ensure that the devolved settlement for Scotland is considered and appropriate - rather than rushed to meet a deadline.  

“Any devolution deal for Scotland should trigger a new debate on local autonomy in England, and on more powers for Wales and Northern Ireland. Businesspeople in the rest of the UK want to see less centralised control over how their taxes are raised and spent to drive forward the economic development of their local areas.”

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