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GRANT CAMPBELL: Costs put future of vitally important sections of our economy in a perilous spot

By Grant Campbell

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Grant Campbell, SCDI’s regional manager for the Highlands and Islands.
Grant Campbell, SCDI’s regional manager for the Highlands and Islands.

With the summer season nearly over for our tourism and hospitality businesses across the region, focus is now moving towards the off-season.

As if a global pandemic wasn’t enough to challenge the resilience and sustainability of these businesses over the last two years, the weakened financial position at the start of the year along with reduced visitor numbers, staffing shortages and high energy costs, the future of vitally important sections of our economy are in a perilous place.

Hospitality and tourism are not alone and while other sectors are reporting positive growth amid worldwide challenges, the cost of living and doing business crisis is only going to make the recovery from the pandemic that much harder.

Uncertainty surrounding so many areas that make up this “perfect storm” of challenges are holding back some sectors’ investment and growth plans and therefore pushing out the creation of new skilled jobs, further into the future.

Our members are calling for decisive action and support for households and businesses with clarity on short and long-term strategy to navigate these difficult challenges.

SCDI recently produced a narrative for the Scottish Parliament finance and public administration committee regarding Scotland’s Public Finance in 2023/24.

This paper addressed the headline concerns regarding the rise in the cost of living and the shrinkage in the UK economy, resulting in a predicted long recession beginning in quarter four of this year.

The Scottish Government has been engaging with SCDI and other organisations to gather opinions regarding ways to further limit the costs for employers and allow them to maintain levels of employment and increase wages where appropriate, helping to alleviate skill shortages and increase revenue for the Scottish economy.

In celebration of organisations who make big differences to our economy, the SCDI Business Excellence Awards are only 10 days away.

These awards recognise firms of all sizes across the full spectrum of our regional economy. Returning to an in-person gala dinner, we look forward to reconnecting and celebrating success with our members and guests.

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