Open for business

15 Jul 2015

The First Minister's message to an audience in London this week is that Scotland is open for business.

Nicola Sturgeon spoke of the attractiveness of Scotland as a place to invest. She listed our global reputation which outstrips many similar-sized countries, our record of being the top ranked UK region for securing foreign direct investment outside London and our educated and skilled workforce. Our food and drink sector - including Scotch Whisky - was described as 'the darling of Scotland's economy'.

London should not be seen as a threat, she said, but an opportunity to help Scotland grow even further - a gateway to investment to be nurtured.

The SWA is no stranger to this approach. As we grow the market for Scotch Whisky across the world, the SWA continues to build on the opportunity that London offers with the opening this month of a new and permanent presence at the heart of Westminster.

After the General Election, there is a different political landscape to navigate. There are new Ministers to meet, new relationships to forge and new alliances to build.

While the work of the SWA in its Edinburgh HQ continues, based in a new location in the Quartermile area of the city from this autumn, the London office will enhance what has been done over previous years to engage with key influencers to advance the interests of the industry.

As the First Minister said in her Mansion House speech this week, London is an opportunity. This is as true for SWA as it is for Scotland.

It gives our member companies more opportunity to build towards the fairer tax regime that the industry has consistently called for. It opens up the prospect of dialogue with a wider range of government departments, think tanks, and others on issues the industry cares about, such as responsible alcohol consumption and sustainability. And it helps opens new doors to many of the developing export markets that are ripe for the expansion of our world-class product.

Like Scotland, the SWA's London office is open for business.

Graeme Littlejohn, SWA head of external relations