Historic is a word often used erroneously – but today is definitely a historic day. In one of Britain’s most definitive political moments, the public has spoken and made clear that it sees the UK’s future being better-served outside of the EU.
A country leaving the EU is unprecedented – the market volatility witnessed in the last few hours is indicative of the uncertainty that lies ahead. And, while everyone gets to grips with what exactly the consequences of Brexit are likely to be, it seems inevitable that we will see more political and economic instability in the short-term. Unsurprisingly, that will impact on growth, with many businesses hitting pause while the dust settles and the full implications of last night are both realised and understood.
Many businesses will have already taken steps to steer themselves through the choppy waters of Brexit; but more will need to be done now that the ship has left port. Companies will need to ensure they are set up to navigate the immediate risks and impacts of exiting from the EU, including having the processes and people in place to manage this period of upheaval.
Nevertheless, Scotland, and the UK as a whole, is well positioned to deal with the outcome of the referendum. Our economy remains competitive, innovative and highly-skilled, whether it is in Europe or out. Scotland continues to be an excellent place to do business, with all the necessary attributes to compete and succeed in the global economy.
The Scottish economy, for its part, is resilient and dynamic – over the last 24 months, in particular, we’ve seen some amazing businesses emerge from its entrepreneurial scene. I am confident there are more good stories to come in the next few years and businesses across the board will adapt to our new reality.
Likewise, Scotland’s food and drink, oil and gas, financial services and technology sectors, will continue to be world-leaders, setting the benchmark for others across the globe. They will remain important drivers of economic growth, irrespective of the political challenges we may face.
Change is on the horizon but, with a solid base on which to build, our prospects are bright. What we need now is for everyone to come together in the wake of this national debate, as we move towards a prosperous future outside of the EU.
Whatever challenges may lie ahead, we will be able to face them with ambition and confidence.