Council calls for views on city's economic future

Access to affordable finance for small businesses remains a key barrier to growth in Edinburgh according to the findings of a new study.

Renewable energy and innovation are also highlighted as potentially being the main areas where the city should focus its efforts in securing employment and investment.

The findings emerged from a piece of work carried out to support a major city-wide consultation - the Edinburgh Economic Review - commissioned by the Council and overseen by the Edinburgh Business Forum. Its aim is to inform a new strategy for the city over the next 5-10 years.

The review revealed that the Edinburgh city region economy has demonstrated considerable resilience during the economic downturn but that challenges remain. These include the difficulties being faced by local companies in accessing finance, the productivity challenges which must be met if Edinburgh is to compete on a global stage and the need for more internationalisation of city region business activities.

Councillor Tom Buchanan, Economic Development Convenor, said: "This has been a major piece of work; one that will inform our policies for the next 10 years - and beyond.

"We are now more informed as to what challenges lie ahead and are clear that our main priority must be sustainable job creation. We must therefore continue to focus on boosting investment, skills and productivity."

Hugh Rutherford, Chair of the Edinburgh Business Forum, added: "Edinburgh is already well represented in some of the key sectors for growth and that's something we have to build on. And despite being affected by the economic downturn, the city is still very much open for business, attracting significant players in personal finance as part of a wider £9.9bn worth of investment in 2010. These are great strengths but we need to make sure that we keep developing in order to remain internationally competitive.

"We hope that local businesses will reflect on the review's findings and feed in their comments, playing a key role in informing Edinburgh's evolving Economic Strategy"

The Council's published studies, which are intended to inform and stimulate debate in the consultation, cover the following areas:
   Economic context and performance
   Economic future
   Skills and employability
   Enterprise and innovation
   Jobs and investment
   Low carbon economy

The studies, together with details on how to submit your views, can be found on the Economic Review website pages.

The consultation is open until 16 September with a report on its findings expected towards the end of the year.

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