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As the Scottish Conservative spokesman on trade and investment, I am pleased to speak in this debate about how
Scotland can seize the opportunities that await us in future trading relationships.
The trading plan that the First Minister announced earlier this month in Edinburgh is a welcome step in the right direction, with plans for 17,500 extra jobs as a result of boosting exports. However, it is set against a background of failure by the SNP over recent years. At that launch, the First Minister talked of boosting Scotland’s exports so that, in the next decade, they will account for a quarter of Scotland’s GDP. My colleague, Dean Lockhart, spoke about that. In contrast to the Scottish situation, exports at UK level already account for 30 per cent of GDP.
The plan from the Scottish Government is long overdue. It n ot only needs to boost exports as a percentage of GDP, because there has been a massive failure to increase the value of our exports. The 2011 economic strategy, which has been referred to, outlined plans to increase the value of Scotland’s exports by 50 per cent between 2010 and 2017, but the Scottish Government missed that target by billions of pounds.