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Sustainable Growth Commission report unveiled

Updated: Jul 24, 2018

By Victoria Masterson

11:22, 25 MAY 2018

Scottish Business Insider magazine www.insider.co.uk


The 353-page report sets out 50 recommendations for Scotland to meet its economic potential and create a 'successful economy and flourishing society'

https://www.insider.co.uk/news/sustainable-growth-commission-nicola-sturgeon-12594547


A new 'Come to Scotland' package, Scottish Central Bank, national branding strategy and gender pay equality commission are part of the SNP's Sustainable Growth Commission report.


The 353-page report sets out 50 recommendations for Scotland to meet its economic potential and create a 'successful economy and flourishing society'.


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It proposes that Scotland can catch up with the world's most successful small economies - including Hong Kong and Ireland - within ten years and generate another £4,100 per head in productivity.


The aim is to 'stimulate debate' and outline policy options for Scotland in the context of Brexit and 'with the opportunities of independence.'


“Scotland has potential far beyond its current performance," says former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson, chair of the Sustainable Growth Commission. "Our ambition should be to perform to the level of the best of the small advanced economies in the world and, in doing so, make the right choices about the sort of society and economy we wish to live in.


“Growing our economy and closing the gap with those independent countries that lead the pack would mean £4,100 per head more for every person in Scotland. This is a target that is both ambitious and achievable over a generation, not overnight."


The Growth Commission states that Scotland has all the intrinsic features of the 12 most successful small advanced economies in the world.


These are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland.


Scotland can learn lessons from all 12, but particularly Denmark, Finland & New Zealand, the Commission suggests.


The 50 Growth Commission recommendations include:


  • The creation of an overarching national economic strategy that as far as possible focuses on long term goals.

  • A new Scottish Central Bank to act as banker to the Scottish Government, holding deposits and providing liquidity support. It would be the 'lender of last resort' and would have an independent Scottish Financial Authority as a wholly owned subsidiary.

  • A commission on gender pay equality to consult and consider the best policies and incentives to close the pay gap, inspired by New Zealand's approach.

  • A national brand strategy and campaign to improve Scotland's competitiveness internationally. This would be benchmarked against the scale and effectiveness of Ireland, New Zealand and Norway.

  • A Productivity Commission should be set up to identify opportunities for productivity improvement.

  • Frictionless borders and market access.


"Securing frictionless borders with therest of the UK and EU should be a top strategic priority of the Scottish Government," the report states. "Brexit places a material risk on Scotland’s access to export and import markets and the free movement of people, capital, goods and services and must therefore be resisted vigorously.


"The alternative will be a severe reduction in living standards, growth and employment levels. Scotland has more at stake than most small nations in the coherence of the process of fair global integration. The lessons of the Scottish enlightenment and history since must be kept front of mind by all."


On population, Scotland should aim become the most 'talent friendly' country in the world.


"Targeting a growing population of working age and the attraction of talented migrants should be a top priority of Scottish Government economic policy and marketed vigorously to the rest of the UK and the world," the report adds.


A new ‘Come to Scotland’ package should be created with a package of incentives including a ‘transition relief’ package of tax incentives to reduce the cost of moving to Scotland, and for graduates of Scottish universities to stay on after studying.


There would also be a reduced capital threshold for investors, a reduced investment threshold for business start-ups and a new visa system benchmarked on the most efficient and easy to use in the world.

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"Scotland’s public finances can be moved from the unsustainable position we inherit from the UK to a long term sustainable position, whilst continuing to grow public spending and stewarding economic growth," the report concludes.


"In terms of currency and regulation,Scotland should retain the pound for an extended transition period to deliver maximum stability in the period immediately after independence and to enable an orderly transition to a Scottish system of financial regulation," it adds.

The report’s recommendations will be considered by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP through a series of 'national assemblies.'

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