Page last updated at 20:28 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 21:28 UK

Businesses send message to Brown

Gordon Brown
Business leaders want Mr Brown to tackle energy issues

Business leaders across Scotland have been listening carefully to the prime minister who made his speech at the CBI Scotland annual dinner in Glasgow.

The BBC Scotland news website canvassed opinion about what they wanted to hear from Gordon Brown.

The host of the dinner, CBI Scotland, said it was hoping the prime minister would "lay to rest" rumours of a windfall tax on energy companies.

It was also looking to hear plans on how the country's infrastructure could be developed, especially energy security.

David Lonsdale, the organisation's assistant director, said CBI Scotland was "delighted" to hear at first-hand how the government was meeting the challenges facing the global and domestic economy, and the impact that they were having on business.

It was looking to hear Mr Brown's prognosis for the economy, how he intends to navigate the economic challenges ahead, and his long-term vision on restoring UK tax competitiveness.

Energy costs were the main issue concerning the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

Its head of policy, Gary Clark, said he knew of one business which was facing additional costs of 100,000 per month - an "unsustainable" situation.

We're looking for something pretty strong on how he is planning to address energy costs
Gary Clark
Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Mr Clark said he was looking to Mr Brown for a speech which was "heavy on content".

He acknowledged that these were difficult times for the government, with substantial external pressures, but added: "We're looking for something pretty strong on how he is planning to address energy costs."

He added that the chambers would also not be in favour of any windfall taxes being levied on energy companies.

The Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland said it would welcome the prime minister "using his influence with Opec to ensure that oil production levels are maintained" as a means towards reducing the price.

The organisation's Scottish policy convener, Andy Willox, said: "It would be great if the prime minister would ask... the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (Berr) to look into the payment practices of larger companies.

The prime minister would do well to offer a gentle reminder that the problems facing CBI members are largely self-inflicted
Stephen Boyd
STUC assistant secretary

"A number of our members are reporting problems with their larger customers delaying payment for months - effectively using their small suppliers as a free overdraft."

The federation also said it was hoping that there would not be any surprises on business taxation in the pre-budget report.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress had its own message for Mr Brown - and business leaders.

Its assistant secretary, Stephen Boyd, said: "The prime minister would do well to offer a gentle reminder that the problems facing CBI members are largely self-inflicted.

"That the prevailing economic model is unravelling is primarily due to the fallout from reckless and irresponsible lending in the financial sector."

He added: "Perhaps the prime minister and CBI Scotland should use this evening as an opportunity to reflect on the pivotal role that appropriate and effective regulation plays in underpinning sustainable economic growth."


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