First Minister Humza Yousaf urged to turn wellbeing economy ‘rhetoric into reality’
More than 200 charities, economists, businesses, trade unions and academics have called on First Minister Humza Yousaf to set out a plan for the creation of a wellbeing economy.
The idea that underpins the wellbeing economy is that progress in areas such as reducing inequality and tackling poverty is measured alongside economic growth. The Scottish Government recently appointed a wellbeing economy minister, Neil Gray, to help deliver the change.
But signatories of an open letter sent to the first minister today, including STUC, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Poverty Alliance, Carnegie UK, IPPR Scotland, Children 1st, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and dozens of SMEs, say there has not been “substantive progress in redesigning our economy”.
Scotland is one of the founding members of the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership. And Yousaf has cited the delivery of a wellbeing economy, tackling child poverty and sustainable public services as the key priorities of his government. But the campaigners, from food banks to economists, note that this will take more than “following an outdated economic logic and then attempting to patch up the damage”.
The letter urges Yousaf to transform Scotland’s National Performance Framework into a Wellbeing Framework and strengthen its power and reach, using devolved tax powers to share wealth more evenly, invest in social security, universal basic services, public sector wages and environmental improvements.
STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer: “A wellbeing economy must be far more than a soundbite from the Scottish Government. It’s a clear and unequivocal demand from our movement to be treated with dignity and we cannot ever hope to have a wellbeing economy whilst wealth is created and hoarded by those at the top.
“When the chips are down, government must deliver. Workers are suffering a cost-of-living crisis not of their making and absolutely not of their choosing. We expect politicians to make good on their promises and fundamentally build an economy that focuses on well-being and workers rather than profit and private interests.”
Gerry McCartney, professor of wellbeing economy at the University of Glasgow, added: “Redesigning the economy to serve the needs of people and planet, and to value what actually matters is an urgent task. Poverty is rising, life expectancy is stalling and the climate and nature crisis are posing an existential threat.
“We need a deep deliberative conversation across Scotland about the society we want and the economy that can support this. There is no alternative if we want a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren to live on.”