Scotland’s economy is stagnating; growing three times slower than the rest of the UK. Our manufacturing base has been decimated, our economy largely deindustrialised and working too often only for the few whilst undermining the economic security and employment opportunities for the many. Scotland’s economy needs to grow but whatever the size of the economic base the wealth we generate needs to be shared much more equitably.
Currently, the fruits of our economy are distributed far too unequally with persistent unemployment, underemployment, low pay and insecurity at work obvious symptoms of that.
We need to grow our economy and share the benefits more fairly. Achieving this requires investment over the long term in our infrastructure and industries with much greater support in areas such as manufacturing with far greater economic planning. A fair economy requires a fair deal for workers meaning better wages and more secure employment, greater redistribution of the wealth generated and a stronger social contract whereby people paying more in tax understand that in return they will receive well–resourced and excellent public services and a fairer, more cohesive society that nurtures and looks after our individual and collective well-being.
Achieving this demands a wholesale change in how we grow and treat our economy. It means taking control over the fundamental transformation that is challenging all economies such as the exponential increase of automation, which are now impacting our economy.
We need an economy that develops as a result more investment in research and development and that has much better and more coordinated collaboration between industry, government (including local government) and higher education. We also need a Government that actively intervenes rather than one that sits back and hopes for the best and which fails to help and grow our economy as a result.
As part of a properly thought out plan to grow our economy under my Leadership:
- We will implement an industrial strategy and invest in Scotland’s economy, growing it sustainably, increasing productivity and ensuring there is a fair share for all.
- We will always value and support our manufacturing industry
- Open the proposed ‘Manufacturing Institute’ as a matter of urgency
- Enhance the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service and encourage it to collaborate with trade unions/worker reps in the workplace
- Encourage and incentivise firms in Scotland to raise levels of investment in R&D as a percentage of turnover
- Support our burgeoning digital technology sector and ensure we address urgently the digital skills gap
- Establish a blueprint for a sustainable future Scottish economy and identify existing and future economic opportunities and threats at a national and global level
- Ensure continued investment in Scotland’s education system at all levels, to produce a well-educated and technologically advanced workforce. Industry and government need to work better together to ensure we have the right workforce planning arrangements, vocational training and skillsets available
- Pursue a policy of full employment and tackle the stubborn problem of unemployment and underemployment that prevent so many of our people from realising their potential and which has a wider, detrimental impact on our economy
- We will recognise the important role of local councils and work with them to help stimulate local economic growth
- Expand local economic strategies via city and rural economic regeneration plans that help unlock investment in local areas
- Develop a systematic, comprehensive plan for existing and future education and skills demands of the Scottish economy; and a skills and education provision strategy to match these demands, which includes a commitment to retraining and lifelong learning
- Invest in STEM subjects and to encourage female students to study STEM subjects up to and beyond higher level
- Create and maintain a strategy for transitioning declining industries, and developing alternatives to replace non-sustainable or non-productive industries
- Create a Scottish Investment Bank to invest in our economy and infrastructure, including our social infrastructure such as housing Therefore stimulating our economy, creating work and providing people with their fundamental needs all at the same time
- Pursue the creation of a Scottish Public Provident Fund, using public sector pensions funds, and use that to invest in Scotland’s industries and social infrastructure.
- Critically assess the Small Business Bonus to establish, if any, its beneficial impact on the wider Scottish economy. If its proven to have had a negligible impact we will replace this with a ‘Small Business Growth Fund’ 
- Support non-traditional company formations e.g. Cooperatives, Worker Buy-Outs, Community Businesses.
- Support the development of co-operatives and place Cooperative Development Scotland on a statutory footing
- Establish a Public Common Good Fund that would help support the development of cooperatives
- Develop alternative forms of public ownership and intervene wherever to take public goods back into public ownership e.g. Bus, Energy, Rail, etc.
- Support women in enterprise as part of a wider strategy to address and end once and for all the gender pay gap
- Make sure that every public pound spent on procurement and subsidy (such as Regional Selective Assistance) helps drive up wages and minimum standards of employment and boosts local supply chains and stimulates employment
- We will develop a national plan that guarantees long term investment in local and national infrastructure for example in Information, communication, learning, service and production technologies; in our Physical infrastructure e.g. roads, buildings, and town and city centres
- Investing in the social and economic capacity of communities to respond to local needs and opportunities including support for Credit Unions and community businesses e.g. energy generation