SCOTTISH businesses have set out a wish list of actions the new government must take immediately to shore up confidence in the sector and alleviate the damage to the economy sustained in the three years since the UK voted to leave the European Union.

At the heart of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) list is the introduction of a “simple and flexible immigration system” that would minimise the administrative burden on business and allow access to people of all skill levels. This should also recognise professional qualifications, as well as taking account of Scotland’s unique geographical and demographic requirements.

On international trade, the SCC said it wanted to ensure continuity of trading conditions with third countries so firms would continue to benefit from levels of market access they had under EU free trade agreements.

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Public investment in infrastructure should also be at least 1.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) per year – above the funding guideline of 1.2% recommended by the National Infrastructure Commission. There should also be a moratorium on measures which increase the cost of doing business for the next term of parliament and a commitment to improving and enhancing digital infrastructure for every business community, including funding for digital literacy.

The SCC said the new government should avoid a messy and disorderly exit from the European Union and ensure the smoothest possible shift from a transition period to the future UK-EU relationship.

It also wanted to see a temporary small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) Brexit tax credit to support those firms which have to undertake specific activity to adjust to changes in trading conditions.

The group urged the Scottish Government to increase funding for apprenticeships to ensure SMEs can access training, and set out a long-term strategy and funding for lifelong learning, enabling people to adapt to technological changes in the workplace.

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SCC chief executive, Dr Liz Cameron, said: “The time for the uncertainty and stagnation that has dogged us since the vote to leave the European Union must end. We cannot afford another year of lost business focus.

“Businesses are fed up and have grown increasingly frustrated as the focus required from parliamentarians to support economic growth has been squandered.

“Once the electorate has decided our leadership, they must deliver an end to the Brexit stalemate and take decisive steps to improve the business environment in Scotland by supporting SMEs, delivering an immigration system that is fit for purpose and reducing the cost of doing business. Our Scottish representatives at Westminster need to put the economy of Scotland at the forefront of their minds and in all policy discussions; that means supporting job creation and enabling Scotland to remain ahead of the game in global competitiveness.

“Whoever is elected or re-elected would do a complete injustice to the people who have voted them in if they do not ensure they use their voice and votes wisely.

“For the first 12 days of Christmas and beyond, parliament must take action on the key priorities of our chamber business communities.”