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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
14 February 2024
Labour unveils new 'blueprint for economic growth’

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar | Alamy

Labour unveils new 'blueprint for economic growth’

Labour has unveiled a new blueprint to deliver economic growth that the party says will help businesses.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar accused the SNP-Green government of “failing” businesses and “choking off opportunity and hurting families and companies in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and a cost-of-doing-business crisis”.  

The document entitled Building a Business Case for Scotland will build an “alternative business case for Scotland” that focuses on encouraging investment and innovation, while creating more jobs.

The Labour Party argues that the SNP has failed to grow the economy over its 17 years in government and criticised the inclusion of Green ministers who are “openly opposed to economic growth”.

Sarwar said the new report outlines how the party plans to “unleash the true economic potential of Scotland” with the Scottish Government’s existing powers, highlighting key areas: the green economy, technological innovation, ‘Brand Scotland’ – tourism and hospitality, the creative industries, and food and drink.  

The blueprint commits to simplify the Scottish enterprise agency landscape, embed technology across the economy and public services, develop a clear skills plan with transition pathways into the green economy, address the skills gap, and establish GB Energy in Scotland.  

Labour will also look to partner with business to maximise the opportunities from financial services’ deep institutional links in Scotland and provide clarity on national retrofitting standards with clear guidance on technology, finance, and contractors.  

At Scottish Labour’s annual conference in Glasgow this week, the party will prioritise economic issues and will engage with business leaders ahead of the general election and the 2026 Holyrood election.    

The report was published after Scottish Labour appointed an independent advisory board for economic growth in August last year, comprising of experts who were asked for input independently and who met collectively to discuss economic challenges facing Scotland.  

It is the first in a series of documents that will be developed in partnership with business.

In the foreword of the report, Sarwar said: “With the vast powers available to Scottish ministers, it is vital that we debate how to deliver economic growth. That is what Scottish businesses deserve.  

“In the Scottish Labour Party we believe in growth, and we recognise that businesses have to be successful in order for them to create the jobs our country needs – and for us to build the strong economy our country needs.  

“That is what delivers the tax receipts we need to deliver the policy reform we want to implement.  

“But the current Scottish Government has resorted to using income tax as a substitute for economic growth. This is choking off opportunity and hurting families and companies in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and a cost-of-doing business crisis.  

 “We will road test our ideas in opposition and then ask the people of Scotland to give us the opportunity to deliver them in government.  

 “This will be a plan based on partnership to build a strong economy, provide better jobs, and create more jobs – in every part of the country.  

 “It is time to unleash the true economic potential of Scotland and its people.” 

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Read the most recent article written by Ruaraidh Gilmour - Scotland's circular economy: What goes around comes around.

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