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10 August 2016, 12:13
The Scottish Government has announced £100 million of funding and advice to help businesses manage the economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote.
Holyrood ministers will provide fast funding to projects throughout Scotland that can start quickly, create jobs and support suppliers.
A new business information service will provide a single point of contact for firms seeking assistance and a post-referendum business network will bring together the Scottish Government, the Scotland Office, business bodies and unions to manage the uncertainty.
The Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, will receive an extra £5 million to fast-track the opening of its elective treatment centre, which will provide life-enhancing surgery such as joint replacements, with further projects due to be announced.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the UK Government should announce its own economic stimulus package and provide certainty about the future of EU structural funds.
Andy Willox, Scottish policy convenor at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The current information gap presents a problem for firms trying to make medium-term business decisions.
"We support this move from the Scottish Government to combat this problem.
"We need to squeeze every drop of value from this new spending - and that means ensuring that a fair share of these contracts, and associated sub-contracts, go to local firms.''
CBI Scotland director Hugh Aitken said: "Progress on the Glasgow airport link, together with improvements to the A82, A96 and A9, are projects previously identified by businesses as vital, alongside advances in digital infrastructure.
"Firms will also be encouraged by the Scottish Government's pledge to work closely with the Scotland Office as it engages with firms following the referendum.''
Ms Sturgeon said: "As I have made clear since the EU referendum, the Scottish Government will pursue all possible options to protect Scotland's relationship with the EU and ensure that our voice is heard.
"However, it is also important to act now to support and stimulate the economy.
"Scotland is and remains an attractive and stable place to do business - however, there is no doubt that the referendum outcome has created deep and widespread uncertainty, with the impact on jobs and investment already being felt.
"The UK Government has not yet taken any meaningful action to alleviate uncertainty or to boost confidence, and there are very real concerns that the damage to the economy and to jobs will be severe and long-lasting.
"It is against this background that the Scottish Government is announcing early action to boost confidence, stimulate economic activity and support business.''