As the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections draw nearer a manifesto is to be released tonight providing guidelines on how to help the economic recovery of the nation.
The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) hosts its Annual Parliamentary Reception this evening where it will call on ministers to adhere to suggestions outlined in the group’s latest publication, Creating Conditions for Growth: Manifesto for Retail 2011.
Nearly 250,000 people are employed in the retail sector in Scotland - that’s one in nine of its total workforce - and its 2009 sales amounted to £25 billion, highlighting the potential economic landmine that proposed new retail business rates could have on the economy.
Fiona Moriarty, SRC Director, said that these figures “speak for themselves”.
“Retail is the engine room for the economic recovery and, given the right support, will help Scotland work through the difficult times ahead and build a secure and successful future,” she explained.
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney has spoken of how the government north of the border has made economic recovery a priority, and the SRC has various ideas how to support this.
The manifesto identifies ways decision makers can avoid increasing the burden of regulation, ensure affordable rates, create opportunities and work with the retail sector to support locally sourced Scottish products for distribution.
It also champions the retail sector’s ability to generate employment and its independence from governmental handouts.
“Retail is not a sector that looks for subsidies. It is naturally entrepreneurial. Even in these challenging times it is creating jobs and investing in growth,” Moriarty added.
She also explained that the government has the power to help maximise the retail industry or hinder its recovery in this fragile economic climate.
The SRC Director continued: “We simply ask that the Scottish government removes unnecessary obstacles and lets the competitive world of retail continue to offer great value to customers while creating jobs and boosting regeneration.”
Some 200 guests, including members of the Scottish government and other MSPs, are expected to attend the 12th annual SRC reception hosted at Boots’ flagship store on Princes Street, Edinburgh.