Where does the Hung Parliament leave Scottish businesses?

The outcome of the snap General Election, according to business leaders like you…

More uncertainty and significant domestic challenges lie ahead, warns the Institute of Directors (IoD)

David Watt, IoD in Scotland
David Watt, Executive Director of the IoD Scotland, said: “Scottish businesses are robust and have weathered surprising election results before, and they will do it again. However, the lack of a government with a majority undeniably creates uncertainty for businesses, particularly as we head towards Brexit talks, and the many significant domestic challenges Scotland and the rest of the UK face.
“The Conservatives might govern as a minority but they have to accept that they have not earned a mandate to implement their manifesto in full. It is now beholden on politicians to get past the campaign rhetoric and find a way to work together to negotiate a strong deal with European leaders.
“Governments north and south of the border need to focus on what they can do to support business and the economy, and not interfere where they can’t.
“Long-term issues need to be addressed as swiftly as possible, including Scotland’s infrastructure such as broadband access and to ensure Scotland’s education system benefits from developing technologies. It is also vital to take a serious look at business rates and to consider in detail the impact they can have on our international competitiveness.
“The new government will have to listen to the voice of business, party politics can dominate debates and decision-making when parliaments don’t have a majority, but we have no time to waste and the biggest party leaders must work together to address the most pressing issues at hand.
“It does seem that a second independence referendum in Scotland is a long way away, which removes any further instability for business, at least for the timebeing. We all need to focus on economic growth, including improving the quality of board rooms and directors.”

Whatever happens, simpler tax laws are a MUST, says accountancy software provider 

Ed Molyneux, FreeAgent
Ed Molyneux, CEO and Co-Founder of FreeAgent, said: “I hope that whoever the new government turns out to be, it will not turn its back on the millions of people across the UK who run their own freelance or small businesses. This has been the most tumultuous election in recent memory, so is imperative that we get clarity over the identity of our new government and their plans for the future as soon as possible.
“Self-employed people and micro-business owners form the backbone of our economy, yet they are rarely put at the forefront of policy decisions. Many of them think that the tax system is designed to benefit larger companies rather than smaller ventures – and the majority do not believe that the government supports them enough.
“These business owners need simpler tax laws, better access to funding and more readily-available information and support in order to run their businesses better. I hope that whoever emerges victorious in June keeps those requirements in mind and works to deliver a brighter future for our micro-business sector.
“Furthermore, I hope that the failure of the conservative party to win an outright majority will be a catalyst for a rethink on the UK’s Brexit strategy. We know that many micro-business owners were unhappy about the result of last year’s referendum, so I believe that pursuing a softer option – rather than Theresa May’s hard Brexit plans – will be more beneficial for these businesses and the UK economy in general.”

Perhaps Theresa May shouldn’t have gambled, says recruitment trade body 

Samantha Hurley, Director of Operations at The association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), said: “It seems that Theresa May’s gamble on calling a snap election hasn’t paid off and it is unfortunate that this result does not offer the level of stability that the UK desperately needs. In light of this uncertainty, the next Government should be especially careful to avoid knee jerk changes to taxation, employment regulation or visa controls associated with our exit from the EU.
“The impact of this result on both the permanent and flexible labour markets has the potential to be significant. Ever since the phrase ‘gig economy’ was coined, media attention has consistently focused on lower skilled and lower paid workers and we are absolutely determined to ensure that the new Government recognises that professional independent flexible talent is not only a completely distinctive group within the gig economy but that it also has a critical role to play in the future success of the UK plc.
“We hope the new administration will be open to working closely with us to ensure collateral damage is kept to a minimum.”

Managers – take heed, advises Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said: “The two campaigns act as a how to do it and how not to do it. It is extraordinary that the how not to do it example comes from the obvious favourites at the start of the election, and this is also a good reminder for managers that, no matter how strong your position may seem, you cannot take anything for granted.
“You cannot be perceived as invisible, distant and arrogant as a leader, and rely on a small team of advisers. You have to seek out broader inclusiveness and broader views. This is also a lesson for managers not to take unnecessary risks. Theresa May did not need to call this election, and it was an own goal in that respect. It is just like the EU referendum, which also backfired. There are necessary risks and unnecessary risks, and managers need to be careful of taking the unnecessary risks, as things can and do go wrong.”
“This result is a call for any party that is going to be leading the government to be more mindful of including a broader spectrum of views – they will have to be because no one party has a majority. They will have to reach out and be more inclusive in their policies, in their thinking and in the shaping of their policies. This will, in turn, help in the way the next government negotiates Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. While I don’t see a grand coalition of the Labour and Conservative parties, I can see a way whereby Brexit is negotiated in a cross-party way, where more people and views are included in the discussions.”

Be prepared for more volatility when it comes to the Pound, warns travel money specialist 

Simon Phillips, Retail Director at No1 Currency, said: “For now the Pound’s prospects look much like Theresa May’s – clouded with doubt.
“Nearly a year on from the Brexit earthquake there’s no end in sight to sterling’s see-sawing instability.
“As long as the debate rages about whether Britain will end up with a hard or a soft Brexit, the volatility will continue.
“The Pound fell 2% overnight as the markets reacted in shock to the exit poll – and this is unlikely to be the last big swing as the horsetrading begins in earnest, both in Westminster and Brussels.
“Against this backdrop, predicting the future course of the Pound is a mug’s game, so anyone planning a foreign trip should watch exchange rates closely over coming days for any sign of improvement.
“The only certain thing is that more uncertainty lies ahead. So it may be worth buying some holiday money now to mitigate your risk – even if you don’t plan to travel for a few weeks. Above all, travellers need to be savvy when buying foreign currency.”
You might also like > Hung Parliament: Q&A guide to what happens when no one wins the election – via the BBC
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