Brexit deal 'will trigger wall of investment cash'

By Andrew Black
Business presenter, BBC Good Morning Scotland

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A leading businessman says Scottish companies want a Brexit trade deal with no extension, so they can unleash a "wall of cash" for new investment.

Property entrepreneur Tim Allan said employers wanted Brexit "done well", with frictionless trade and EU workers able to come to Scotland easily.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce president also said investment was being held back because of uncertainty.

That comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar agreed they could "see a pathway to a possible deal", ahead of the UK's current 31 October departure date.

'Doing better'

Mr Allan told BBC radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that Scots firms, "want a deal and they want no extension," adding: "This has got to be done."

The Unicorn Property Group chief executive said: "Brexit done well probably looks a lot like the European Union right now.

"What business wants is friction-free trade, access to European markets, we want opportunities for European workers to come to Scotland and to help address our employment shortfall.

"And we want access for higher education and research and development to flow freely across Europe.

"We're not necessarily going to get that, but it's got to look as close to that as possible."

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image captionManufacturing is facing "severe challenges"

Mr Allan, also a director in one of the UK's biggest independent fuel retailers, made his comments as an economic study published by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said overall business performance had declined in the past year.

He added: "I think a no-deal Brexit, where we fall off a cliff and we end up in a state of disarray, is unlikely. There are policies in place where normal functioning of the markets will kick in, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

"But what we need to do is, do better.

"We need to have policies in place which will enable the Scottish economy to grow on the basis of our trade with our European partners.

"Yes, there's a wall of money out there. Yes, companies are holding back on investment. As soon as they get clarity, I think we will see money flow back."

The Scottish Chambers study, carried out with the Fraser of Allander Institute economic think tank, covered the period from June to September 2019.

It said more than three quarters of tourism firms wanted to take on more workers, but were having problems filling jobs.

The report also said sales and investment in construction and manufacturing had slowed.

For more on the latest business news at it happens, follow BBC presenter Andrew Black's updates each weekday morning on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme between 0600 and 0900.

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