Scottish digital industry body urges action on negative impact of Brexit

Written by Jenni Davidson on 2 September 2016 in News
News

The Scottish digital industry trade body ScotlandIS has called for “decisive action” by the Scottish and UK governments to limit the negative impact of leaving the EU.

ScotlandIS chief Polly Purvis has called for a 'clear commitment' to digital - Photo credit: ScotlandIS

The move comes after a consultation found that three quarters of ScotlandIS members said they believed Brexit would have a negative impact on access to skilled staff, sales and customer confidence.

The trade body argued that, with the country already facing a digital skills shortage, all EU citizens currently living and working in Scotland to be granted indefinite leave to remain. 

It also calls for continued access to skilled EU workers in the future and a renewed focus on training to ensure a continued supply of homegrown digital professionals.


Related content

Local authorities facing budget cuts and brain-drain as UK votes for Brexit
Driving digital to generate additional revenues


ScotlandIS chief executive Polly Purvis said: “While negotiations on eventual exit will take time, we want the UK and Scottish governments to take immediate action on skills and productivity, to create a competitive workforce truly capable of meeting today’s and tomorrow’s challenges with a clear commitment to digital skills education for everyone."

She added: “This will be more important than ever in a post-Brexit business environment.”

Some 62% of those who responded to the survey said that they expect a negative impact on their ability to increase sales overseas, while 22% said they would consider relocating their business.

There was a more even split on the question of ability to attract growth capital, with around half - 53% - expecting a negative impact.

Purvis said: “Businesses in Scotland’s digital technologies sector are looking for decisive action that will reduce economic and political uncertainty, protecting sales and customer confidence.

“In particular, they want reassurance and certainty about the future status of EU citizens working in the UK and vice versa."

She added that the government needed to tackle the productivity problem "head on".

She also called for "additional and accelerated investment in the communications infrastructure, innovation challenges, export initiatives, and support to prepare companies for new markets can help to rebalance the economy".

Continued access to European markets is essential, ScotlandIS said, with membership of the European Single Market the “ideal outcome”, but failing that, tariff free arrangements for future trade with EU countries a second choice.

The body also asked for continued access to EU research funding for academics, and streamlined regulation between the UK and the EU in areas such as data protection and financial services.

Meanwhile, ScotlandIS welcomed the first minister’s announcement of £100m funding to boost infrastructure projects and urged the Scottish government to allocate part of the funding to digital connectivity.  

More than 84,000 people currently work in digital technologies roles in Scotland, and, according the sector generates more than £5bn GVA annually.

About the author

Jenni Davidson is a reporter at PublicTechnology's sister publication Holyrood, where a version of this article first appeared.

Share this page

Tags

Add new comment

Related Articles

Socitm’s advanced accessibility test passed by 134 councils
16 May 2017

IT association says results of second stage of website accessibility test indicate ‘ongoing challenge’ for councils...

Group chat an indispensable tool within Whitehall
26 June 2017

Group chat services can make civil servants more efficient by reducing email overload. If government does not embrace them, it will lose out

Related Sponsored Articles

Impact of AI on UK jobs market divides opinion, says BT survey
14 June 2017

BT finds that IT Directors disagree over whether Artificial Intelligence will create or displace jobs

How big data is helping to transform the defence sector
8 June 2017

Bill Holford explores how big data is changing modern warfare, and argues for a defence big data strategy to ensure we are making the most of the opportunities ahead

Defence in a digital and disruptive era: innovation in IT
8 June 2017

BT looks at turning points within the UK defence sector, the evolving nature of warfare and how new cyber-attacks pose new questions for our national defence