Scottish economy ‘must tackle productivity head on’

Scottish economy ‘must tackle productivity head on’

Productivity is the key challenge for the Scottish economy, according to a new report from the Scottish Council for Development & Industry (SCDI).

The report focuses on the areas of underperformance it identifies in the Scottish economy - productivity, innovation and internationalisation - which are underpinned by infrastructure and place, and the ‘levers’ required to support stronger economic growth which is equitable and sustainable.

Digitisation is a particularly high priority, and SCDI recommends that the first chief digital officer for Scotland, reporting directly to the first minister, should be appointed to progress Digital Scotland discussions from infrastructure to economic growth and public service improvements.

Key recommendations from the SCDI Blueprint include:

  • The formation of a Scottish productivity commission modelled on those of Australia and New Zealand, which would provide independent research, advice and performance monitoring to government
  • A network of TechHubs should be developed to bring together innovators, entrepreneurs and creatives with professional support in flexible, affordable and high-tech spaces in cities, towns and smaller communities
  • A genuine partnership on trade and investment activity to capitalise on businesssectoral, civic and educational resources and relationships, maintain and improve our relationships in the EU and develop a Scottish ‘Commonwealth Plan’.
  • An independent Scottish Infrastructure Commission to recommend long-term priorities for the transformation of Scotland's competitiveness, and integrates national and city region pipelines with a focus on smart and low carbon, and new legislation to fast-track delivery 
    • SCDI chief executive, Ross Martin, said: "The opportunities and threats before Scotland from global disruptive changes are stark and our economy must make the transformation from fragile to agile.

      “Productivity is the principal driver of growth, and to succeed we must collectively tackle this head-on, including by addressing the key economic challenges of innovation and internationalisation. This is not an agenda on which government can deliver alone - we all must take a lead.

      “Underpinned by infrastructure, both physical and digital, the connection of place and the skills of our people, we must meet the challenge of an emerging economy if we are to secure a prosperous future for Scotland. SCDI's Blueprint 2015 presents a vision of how together we could forge and attain that future."