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Leaders Set Out Actions to Grow the Scottish Economy

Our 54th Forum set out the importance of Scotland’s growth revolution. At the sell-out event with an audience of 160, key political representatives and business leaders explored delivery of growth that is based on business innovation and investment in expanding the green economy, quality jobs and good public services.

Discussion focused on actions to accelerate Scotland’s economic performance over the next five years. This included what must be done and by who to deliver a Green Industrial Strategy that increases investment, innovation and jobs in key sectors such as offshore wind and carbon capture and storage. Critically, there was a focus on how to meet future skills demand at a time of skills shortages and severe financial pressures on further and higher education

Bart van Ark, Managing Director of The Productivity Institute

Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust

Speakers also discussed how to secure growth and prosperity for people and places during economic and industrial changes, such as at Grangemouth.

Speakers included the new Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Gaelic Kate Forbes MSP, Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar MSP, new Chief Executive of The Carbon Trust and former Chief Executive of the Climate Change Committee Chris Stark, Vice-Principal of the University of Glasgow Uzma Khan, Managing Director of The Productivity Institute Bart van Ark, and Chief Executive Officer of Scottish investment firm Noble & Co Angus Macpherson.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Gaelic Kate Forbes said: “A working partnership between government, business and trade unions is essential to help people live happier and healthier lives, to help businesses boost profitability and build a more resilient Scottish economy. I am grateful to all the businesses and business organisations which continue to take the time to engage with and feed back to Scottish Ministers on what’s working, and where further focus is needed. We are committed to maximising the huge economic opportunities that lie ahead. Together we will share the message that Scotland is open for business.”

Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust commented: “The general election will carry deep implications for the direction of policy progress in the UK and Scotland, but we need to move beyond slogans and gestures. This should be about how the next government encourages the necessary investments to decarbonise and push us towards lower-cost energy and a more competitive economy. A strategy for growth is one that embraces low-carbon technologies at scale, keeping pace with others in the global net-zero economy.”

Bart van Ark, Managing Director of The Productivity Institute and Professor of Productivity Studies at The University of Manchester said: “To move the dial on growth and create a more productive, sustainable, thriving society, we need stability alongside a range of reforms to boost business investment as well as increased public sector investment. Damaging policy churn, multiple growth plans, reshuffles and short-term political fixes need to be replaced with a more long-term approach. I look forward to discussing what the ingredients of such a strategy are as well as the key milestones along the way.”

Sara Thiam, Chief Executive, Prosper, added: “With the recent changes in the Scottish Government and a UK General Election campaign in full swing, Prosper is putting growth at the top of the agenda at Holyrood and at Westminster. We are determined to turn the excellent ideas and opportunities discussed today into actions which increase sustainable prosperity for people around Scotland.”