Scotgov consultation: National Strategy for Economic Transformation

3rd September 2021

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The Scottish Forum recently submitted our priorities to the Advisory Council who are overseeing the  National Strategy for Economic Transformation, as part of the Chief Economist Directorate of The Scottish Government. This was in response to their recent consultation seeking priorities for a new ten year economic strategy.

The Advisory Council is composed of business leaders, academics and economists who will help shape and drive the strategy, with the aim to bring forward new ideas, within a plan of key actions and projects, to help transform Scotland's economy. 

The Scottish Forum has recommended four priorities that we believe can make a difference, which are summarised below.

  1. Scotland should take the opportunity to become a leader in conservation finance, as outlined in the ‘Route Map to £1 Billion’, with the aim to create impactful green investment opportunities.
  2. Decisions on financial or other government support should be contingent on how applicant businesses are reducing emissions, reversing biodiversity decline, managing land (where relevant), selecting suppliers, managing waste, and raising awareness of nature and climate change among employees and customers. Applicants from all sectors should be provided with information, and access to support, about the necessity, and business benefits, of managing environmental impacts proactively.
  3. i) A feasibility study should be conducted into the opportunity that exists for vertical farming on vacant and derelict land sites in Scotland. The study should clarify the scale of opportunity, explore a pathway to implementation, and examine potential barriers to realising the project.
    ii) On the potential barriers to delivering the vertical farming/vacant and derelict land idea, (and others) consider how we better address the implementation gap which is a systems issue across a number of policy areas.
  4. Investing in nature-based solutions should be a key component of Scotland's transition to net zero, building resilience to a changing climate, and reversing biodiversity loss. This could bring many economic and social benefits, from nature-based jobs, to improved health outcomes, to reduced risks for communities and businesses.

We believe fundamentally that a future economy for our country must invest in our natural capital. Conservation finance has the potential to leverage funds to help achieve this aim from new sources, and nature-based solutions can offer multiple wins for investors. As a transformational project, vertical farming could create a new, bold and ambitious green industry. To achieve these aims, conditionality of financial support, and closing the policy implementation gap offer us ways to get there quicker. We believe taken together these priorities can ensure our economic strategy is a green and successful one.

The consultation window has now closed, and the strategy will published later this year, with the aim to do within the first six months of parliament. At that point a smaller group of members from the Advisory Council will oversee the implementation of the strategy. 

Read our full consultation response here

For more information about the strategy, and members of the Advisory Council follow this link