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17 April 2024 | Scotland’s Future

Six Tests to Reboot Economic Growth

Clare Reid, Director of Policy & Public Affairs, Prosper

Whilst speculation continues about the likely date of the General Election, Scotland’s Economic Forum, Prosper, has been gathering views to focus political parties and prospective parliamentary candidates about what’s required to place our economy on a much firmer footing.

The call to address stagnating incomes, weak growth, low productivity and high levels of inequality is clear and comes not only from leaders across businesses but also from civil society.

They share an understanding of the imperative to prioritise measures which will generate the sustained growth in our economy required to lift social prosperity and fund our public services.

Working with the Fraser of Allander Institute in its latest Scottish Business Monitor survey of over 400 businesses, we found that delivering economic growth was by far their highest priority, with 72% of businesses putting it in their top three priorities. Tackling labour and skills shortages, reducing business taxes and investing more in infrastructure also rated highly across businesses.

Guided by the evidence and discussions with our members, ‘Growing for Good’, is Prosper’s manifesto for the General Election – our proposals for growth which avoids boom-and-bust, improves living standards across society and supports the transition to a green economy. In it, we invite each party to make their case for what they will do to raise awareness of and leverage Scotland’s unique strengths on a global stage and create a prosperous future for all our people.

Our own proposals are shaped by our six key tests for the political parties. Increasing investment with a strong and stable economic strategy and multi-year budgets. Driving up productivity by accelerating innovation across Scotland’s dynamic clusters and the wider economy. Supporting a skilled workforce and growing our working age population. Promoting an approach to business which grows profits by solving the problems of people and planet. Delivering a credible plan for our net zero targets. And making our places more attractive in which to live, work, visit and invest.

Whilst a UK government-in-waiting is the primary target for this manifesto, better co-ordination and co-operation between Westminster, Holyrood and local government is also a key message.

It’s never been more important that Government at every level works jointly with businesses, third sector organisations, educational institutions and trade unions to develop and deliver solutions.

This year we’ve played our part in the Labour Party commissioned Higgins Review on improving government and industry relations, and the Scottish Government’s New Deal for Business Group. These are constructive initiatives, but their effective implementation must now be demonstrated.

As the organisation that brings together the expertise in all sectors and geographies of Scotland, Prosper – the new name for the Scottish Council for Development and Industry set up in 1931 – is deeply committed to creating a more successful economy for everyone. Our

belief that the best ideas come from sharing diverse perspectives will shape our 54th Economic Forum in late May.

Read our Manifesto and join us in driving change below.

April 2024

General Election Manifesto

General Election Manifesto

Our 6 key tests to grow Scotland's economy

Our question is a simple one. Does your party have a policy programme that will support a prosperous future? Based on our analysis of what needs to change, we have devised six tests to address key weaknesses and increase Scotland’s success in the global economy. Our General Election manifesto urges all parties to implement a programme for government that will:

  • Increase investment (including a stable economic strategy)
  • Drive up productivity
  • Support a skilled workforce and a growing working age population across Scotland
  • Contain specific measures to nurture business purpose
  • Include a credible plan to transition to a net-zero economy
  • Include measures to build place-based growth

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