The next Scottish government is being urged to pause plans including the “tourist tax” on hotel rooms and the regulation of short-term holiday lets.
CBI Scotland claims policies such as the transient visitor levy – which could see councils given the power to introduce a charge for overnight hotel stays – could have a “damaging impact on Scotland’s economic recovery”.
The current Scottish Government halted its consultation on the hotel charge amid the pandemic.
CBI Scotland has published its manifesto ahead of May’s Holyrood election, in which it calls for the next government to work with businesses and Westminster to provide the boost the economy needs in the wake of coronavirus.
Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: “After a steady diet of Brexit uncertainty, Covid-19 and decades of weak productivity growth, the Scottish economy is in desperate need of a recipe for success.
“Neither government nor business can deliver that alone – it must be done together.
“This election must be about rebuilding Scotland from the devastating impact of the pandemic. It’s crucial that the economy is front and centre of the political debate.
“A strong economy that creates growth and good jobs is the only sustainable way of raising wages, improving living standards and ultimately securing prosperity for all Scots.”
CBI Scotland also wants the next government to have a “long-term tax strategy that attracts people to live and work in Scotland”.
It wants ministers to focus on boosting skills, and also on making the 2020s “a decade of delivery towards net-zero emissions”.
With that in mind, it recommends whoever is in power after May should “rapidly expand and accelerate the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure”, and ensure every home is greener.
Other recommendations are for everyone over 25 to be given a “skills wallet”, which they can use to invest in their own skills at key points in their career, and for greater training in digital skills so all workers have these at a basic level by the end of the next parliament.
A further target should also be set to have at least 10,000 people gain what it describes as “advanced digital skills”, so Scotland can be a “leader in the global provision of digital services”.
The new government is urged to work with Westminster to “deliver a digital revolution that sees gigabit-capable digital connectivity rolled out across all of Scotland by the end of the next parliament”, and to ensure 25,000 new homes are built every year.
CBI Scotland wants improved digital ticketing, allowing passengers to link up journeys on different forms of public transport. This, it said, will “give customers a better experience and encourage more people to choose greener modes of transport”.
Ms Black said: “The pandemic has shown the value of business to be more than economic. From retail to restaurants, banks to building sites, businesses are fundamental to our way of life.
“People’s jobs are about so much more than just paying the bills – they create social connections, support good mental health and provide a sense of purpose.
“Politicians across the spectrum should champion the positive role business plays in society.
“By making enterprise a genuine partner, the next government will be able to provide bolder, better and fairer solutions to the challenges Scotland faces now and in years to come.”