Scottish Enterprise Annual Review 2013 – 14

Dennis Robertson (Aberdeenshire West) (SNP):  To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Scottish Enterprise annual review for 2013-14. (S4O-03464)

The Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism (Fergus Ewing): Although Scottish Enterprise’s full annual report will not be published until September, figures released in July give the welcome news that Scottish Development International has helped to create or safeguard 7,446 jobs through inward investment in the year 2013-14.

On the international trade side, SDI supported 2,708 companies to operate in international markets, including 228 that have the potential to generate £1.2 billion in international trade over the next three years.

Dennis Robertson: I thank the minister for that extremely positive response.

Does the minister agree that, with a yes vote in September, we will be able to take forward greater opportunities to ensure that Scotland is an even more successful country?

Fergus Ewing: I agree with Mr Robertson for a number of reasons. Scotland is already a great place in which to invest. We have a highly skilled workforce, great universities and colleges, a marvellous quality of life and an extremely supportive Government and enterprise network. However, we cannot offer the additional competitive advantage that comes from having choice over things such as visas and air passenger duty. Scotland is the most expensive place in Europe to travel to because we do not have the choice to determine our own rate of air passenger duty, which means that we cannot change Scotland from a great place in which to invest into the very best place in which to invest.