Business leaders north of the Border believe the UK Government is doing a better job on business and the economy than the Scottish Government, a poll by The Herald and the Institute of Directors reveals.

One respondent said: “Scotland [is] starting to look like a rudderless high-tax, low-growth, peripheral state with declining, expensive public services.”

The poll also reveals an overwhelming view among business leaders north of the Border that Brexit has damaged the Scottish economy.

One IoD Scotland member said: “The current UK Government makes our whole country a laughing stock in the various [countries] in which I work. Building on Brexit, policies such as the Rwanda scheme make this worse.”


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Asked if the Scottish Government is doing a better or worse job on business and the economy than the UK Government, or if the performance of the two is similar, 68% of the IoD Scotland members who responded said “worse”.

Meanwhile, 13% believe the Scottish Government is doing a better job and 19% think the performance of the Westminster and Holyrood administrations on business and the economy is similar.

More than three-quarters of respondents believe Brexit has hindered the Scottish economy.

Only 4% believe it has helped.

Another IoD Scotland member declared: “Brexit is a real and ongoing issue for Scottish companies operating in Europe. It has affected every facet of business, from bidding for contracts to importing and exporting through to hiring staff.”

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The poll also revealed an overwhelming belief among Scottish business leaders that the probability of a referendum on independence had declined over the past year.

And, while more than one-fifth of respondents believe the Scottish Government is right to use its income tax powers to raise additional tax from higher earners, 78% think it is not correct to do so.

IoD Scotland nations director Catherine McWilliam said: “It’s clear our members have strong views and are looking for an outlet to share them, and to be heard.”

She highlighted the proximity of a UK General Election.

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Ms McWilliam said: “We’re in a General Election year and, when we emerge from that, we’ll be closing in on a Scottish election. There’s a lot of discussion around tactical voting, voter turnout, and a lack of confidence in the current set-up.

“The views expressed in this survey are likely reflective of the wider business community in Scotland, who are all voting constituents, so their voices are crucial.”

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She added: “Members are articulating a level of dissatisfaction that their views aren’t being heard at government level.”