Business and the economy in an Independent Scotland

Business and the economy in an Independent Scotland

Within a decade, Scotland will achieve and maintain a place in the top 10 nations in the UN Human Development Index, showing not only an improved economic performance but also direct social and personal benefits for the people of Scotland.

We need to increase sustainable economic growth, with the following key priorities:

  • develop a long-term rolling strategy for high-skill, high-wage economic development
  • return to a Keynesian full-employment economic policy, instead of neo-liberal austerity
  • take control over our money supply, by creating a full-reserve Scottish Investment Bank
  • strengthen the roles of manufacturing, innovation, and transition to a low carbon economy
  • increase public ownership of key sectors such as energy and transport, and follow the example of most energy-rich countries by establishing a Sovereign Wealth
  • expand international exports and continue to attract inward investment, by promoting Scotland abroad
  • create a supportive environment to boost and diversify our businesses (particularly small and medium sized enterprises). The Small Business Bonus, National Insurance employment allowance, Childcare, tax policy and compliance burdens, air connectivity will be important parts of this.
  • improve productivity and opportunities for learning and skills development, and use universities and colleges to support innovation and expand the business base
  • produce economic and social outcomes that are more equitable, and spread across the country

We are a small country with huge resources:

  • 5 million well-educated, creative and hard-working people
  • extensive natural resources: land, water, renewable energy, oil and gas, agriculture, fishing, forestry
  • manufacturing
  • service sector including tourism (landscape, history and culture)
  • world-ranking Higher Education, with excellent research and development crucial for the future
  • good infrastructure
  • effective government

We will have the advantages of Scotland making our own decisions to the benefit of our economy.

The performance of many small countries demonstrates the advantage of having a policy framework appropriate to local circumstances.

  • currently 9 of the top 15 OECD economies (by output per head) are of similar size to Scotland
  • small countries make up a majority of the top 20 positions in the UN Human Development Index

A country’s population – in particular those of working age – is a key driver of long-term prosperity. Successive administrations have made boosting Scotland’s population a top priority, and is now the highest ever. We need economic policies to our young people to stay and build careers in Scotland and to attract skilled workers. We plan to develop and operate a controlled, transparent and efficient immigration system that best meets Scotland’s needs. This will include a points based approach targeted at particular Scottish circumstances. We will also reintroduce the post-study work visa.

With independence, Scotland’s government will be able to represent Scotland’s interests as a full and active participant in the EU.

In an independent Scotland, it will be the people of Scotland, and our Scottish Government, who will decide our future business and economic policy.

You’ll find us on Yes Edinburgh West website, Facebook, National Yes Registry and Twitter. There is also a library of useful information on our SNP branch Forum on Business and Economy. The 2014 Referendum White Paper (p.96) and the Wee Blue Book, although dated, give a good idea of policy options.

Business and the economy: achievements

You will often hear accusations that the Scottish Government should be using the powers it has to make Scotland a better country. Here is a brief summary of what they have achieved in Business and the Economy, despite most powers being reserved to Westminster.

  • Scotland now has the highest employment rate of the 4 nations in the UK, and our women and youth employment rates exceed those of the UK.
  • Typical pay in Scotland is now, for the first time, higher than in England.
  • The Scottish economy has seen three years of growth up to the third quarter of 2015.
  • 186,855 young people have had the opportunity to undertake a modern apprenticeship since 2007, and by 2020 a further 30,000 opportunities will be available every year.
  • Around 20,000 families have been supported to buy their own home through home ownership schemes – three quarters of them under the age of 35.
  • Councils have been enabled to build new homes for the first time in years – with 5,292 council houses built since 2011.
  • 15,500 social houses for rent have been safeguarded by ending Right to Buy.
  • £500 million has been invested to stimulate and support economic growth in Glasgow and the Clyde Valley.
  • £125 million has been allocated to Aberdeen to stimulate and support economic growth in the city, alongside an additional £254 million for infrastructure projects in the North-east.
  • £60 million has been put towards a Town Centre Regeneration
  • £500 million has been spent on tackling fuel poverty, with one in three households helped to improve home energy efficiency.
  • We’ve reduced the tax burden on the sale of homes, with 93 per cent of house buyers paying less than under UK stamp duty land tax or paying no tax at all.
  • Public sector procurement has been simplified, with more small and medium-sized enterprises now competing for and winning public sector contracts.
  • The number of private sector businesses in Scotland has reached 361,345, the highest number on record – and our productivity is up 4.4 per cent, compared to 0.2 per cent in the UK.
  • International exports increased by 36 per cent between 2007 and 2014, from £20.3 billion to £27.5 billion.
  • Scotland’s tourism industry is going from strength to strength – with 15.5 million tourists visiting Scotland in the year to September 2015.
  • Enterprise and development spending per head in Scotland is double that of the UK, and spending on research and development has increased by 44 per cent since 2007.

In an independent Scotland, it will be the people of Scotland, and their Scottish Government, who will decide our future policy on Business and the Economy – using powers over all of the economy.

Yes Edinburgh West has a website, Facebook, Twitter, National Yes Registry and a Library of topics on Scottish Politics, including Business and the Economy.