Call for exports to lead recovery

Port containers The lobby group called for exports to double

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Scotland should aim to double its exports over the next 10 years, according to one of the country's leading economic lobby groups.

The Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) has a wide membership base within the public, private and voluntary sectors.

It has set out what it calls a blueprint for Scotland's economy.

SCDI also wants the next decade to see the country fully wired with high-speed broadband.

It wants the Highlands and Islands to be as well connected as cities.

The development council said it wanted to make a priority of increasing the share of the nation's income that its private firms spend on research and development of new products and processes - at least bringing these up to the levels for the rest of Britain.

Spending decisions

The economic grouping also wants to see new emphasis on creating more international air links, including direct flights to India and China.

The SCDI's blueprint follows the employers body, CBI Scotland, earlier this week stating its preferred policies to influence political parties as they draw up manifestos for next year's Holyrood elections.

Over the next five years, SCDI wants to see the Scottish Parliament's responsibility for tax and spending decisions strengthened.

It wants a major construction programme for offshore wind farms and the capture and storage of carbon emissions from fossil-fuel burning power stations.

It also says a share of government procurement should be ring-fenced to support the creation of creative, innovative new jobs.

SCDI chief executive Lesley Sawers said: "In a decade of challenge and opportunity, we require bold thinking, tough choices and clear focus to ensure that Scotland emerges as a strong and successful competitor in the global marketplace and a smarter, fairer nation".

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