SCOTTISH Chambers of Commerce, as it set out what it wants to see from Liz Truss, highlighted the woes being created for business by “talent shortages”.

In this context, speaking after news of Ms Truss’s elevation was eventually confirmed on Monday, it called on the new Prime Minister to “immediately review and reform the shortage occupation list”.

Such review and reform could help enable businesses to bring in workers from abroad – and crucially the European Union given it is on our doorstep – alleviating the UK’s skills and labour emergency to some extent in certain sectors.

Brexit, a crusade to which Ms Truss has become a most enthusiastic convert, has fuelled to an enormous extent skills and labour shortages in the UK.

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These have proved a massive brake on companies fulfilling their potential and on growth in the economy as a whole, at the worst possible of times.

The UK has in recent years and decades benefited enormously from strong net immigration of workers from countries in the EU and broader European Economic Area, with Scotland particularly dependent on such an influx given its demographic challenges.

However, the Conservatives were hell-bent on putting paid to that great advantage and they have now done so.

The damage caused by this foolishness will continue to accumulate in a way which bears down heavily on living standards for years to come.

However, the ruling Conservatives, including Ms Truss, have seemed more than content to let this happen as they have proceeded with their key post-Brexit policy of clamping down on immigration to the delight of some of their acolytes.

The broader British Chambers of Commerce network also called on Ms Truss to deliver immediate review and reform of the shortage occupation list. It called on this to be done to “help bring down wage pressures and fill staffing vacancies”.

Myriad companies, and many senior representatives from a vast array of sectors, have highlighted time and again the UK’s skills and labour shortage crisis in the wake of Brexit. This crisis has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic but it is surely clear that Brexit is the big ongoing problem.

However, by and large, warnings from business to the UK Government over the skills and labour crisis have fallen on deaf ears.

So it would seem likely, unfortunately, that both Scottish Chambers of Commerce and British Chambers of Commerce will be whistling in the wind when it comes to their calls for immediate review and reform of the shortage occupation list.

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Even a swift review and radical reform would not get the UK back to anywhere near where it was before the Brexit vote. This vote triggered a plunge in net immigration from the EU to the UK long before the Brexit deed had actually been done by outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson and his administration.

Things have gone from bad to worse since.

It seems though, in spite of clear evidence of the detrimental impact of Brexit at firm, sector and whole economy levels in fuelling skills and labour shortages, the Conservative Government has just not wanted to hear it.

We have, of course, seen the same from this Government (and notably Ms Truss) when it has come to the dreadful impact of Brexit on UK exporters.

It remains difficult to conceive that anyone could not understand the clear, extremely negative effect of Brexit on skills and labour availability and on trade. Then again, with this Conservative Government, who knows?

Scottish Chambers and British Chambers each cited one example of the ubiquitous skills and labour shortages.

In case the picture is not yet clear to Ms Truss and her colleagues, rather than it being a matter of bloody-minded ideology, they could take a look at these.

The examples, both Scottish, came from construction and hospitality, highlighting the fact that problems are being felt by firms operating in a vast array of sectors.

British Chambers noted a “micro” hospitality firm in Scotland had declared: “We are prepared to pay more for the right people, but there just seems to be no one to employ. If we cannot get staff, our service slips drastically because we don’t have enough people to serve our customers.”

That should surely be a simple enough problem for the UK’s political leaders to understand.

Scottish Chambers meanwhile revealed that a construction firm in Glasgow had declared: “Lack of labour in construction industry; lack of apprentices entering the system are having a huge impact on costs; this on top of substantial material increases has not yet affected projects proceeding but there will be casualties both in progressing projects and construction companies surviving.”

These are of course just two of many, many thousands of stories which companies the length and breadth of the UK could tell about the threats posed by labour and skills shortages.

Common sense would dictate an immediate reversal of the Conservative Government’s dramatic and utterly lamentable clampdown on immigration to the UK from the EU and other countries in the EEA, and the return of free movement of people.

Yet, having listened to Ms Truss and her Cabinet colleagues in recent years, this seems an entirely unlikely prospect even as the ominous economic storm clouds grow ever darker.

Even smaller moves on this front continue to look like anathema to the Conservatives, although they have been forced into some relaxations, for example for the care sector.

This has surely been anything other than a business-friendly Government.

Ms Truss also might want to reflect on what Jonathan Geldart, director-general of the Institute of Directors, had to say as the business organisation “warmly welcomed” the appointment of a new Prime Minister.

Mr Geldart said: “With businesses facing real difficulties and feeling apprehensive about the prospects for the UK macroeconomy, our members have expressed their concern about the lack of a clear direction. Our data shows that one of the main reasons for low business confidence in the UK economy is political instability, second only to inflation.”

“Political instability” and “lack of a clear direction” – that is quite the report card for a party which has over the years tried to portray itself as best for business and the economy.

The various business organisations’ responses to Ms Truss’s appointment were forthright indeed in terms of what needs to be done but also entirely constructive.

However, listening to businesses, or households for that matter, does not appear to be one of the Conservatives’ strong suits.

And, sadly, given Ms Truss’s track record in her Cabinet posts, it is difficult to see any change to that.