Local priorities must not be lost

Under the spotlight: Bid leader David Littlejohn with the Tay Cities Deal document ahead of its submission for government scrutiny earlier this year. The outcome of the bid is not yet known.

Concerns, I have a few.

After what Malcolm Tucker could only describe as an omnishambles of an election, Theresa May and her acolytes are trying their damndest to cling on to power. But whether that is in the country’s best interests or their own is very much a subject for debate.

From a business perspective, the political machinations at Westminster are much more than a distracting sideshow.

Make no mistake, instability at the highest levels of government and uncertainty about our future economic path will be the dominant subject in boardrooms up and down the country right now.

And when that’s the case, a period of lower investment, slower growth, fewer new jobs and economic morass often follows.

Only time will tell if that is the case here, but with the Brexit negotiations so close at hand it is hard to imagine our large corporates being happy to dispense with their largesse right now.

If I were them, I too would be looking at the rainy days ahead and putting aside some pennies, especially when the UK’s negotiating strategy is so ill-defined and our hand so weak.

The Brexit vote left the UK economically isolated and I accept that Theresa May has had to play the cards as they were dealt.

But by calling a disastrous election, she let her guard down and handed the other high stakes poker players round the EU negotiating table an unintended advantage at a crucial moment.

It was a spectacular own goal and one I fear the UK may rue long after Theresa May, David Davis and Michael Gove are consigned to being names in modern studies textbooks.

Away from the Brexit negotiations, there are other domestic priorities I hope don’t get lost in this political whirlwind.

The key one for this part of the world is the Tay Cities Deal, the UK and Scottish Government-backed investment package that is so vital to the long-term prosperity of Dundee, Perth, Angus and north-east Fife.

City deals are already providing investment and jobs in other areas of Scotland but until the ink is dry on the Tay Cities package then none of us should rest easy. The economic health of this region depends on it.

ghuband@thecourier.co.uk

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