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Business told to help create 'fairness'

Sturgeon tells firms: follow our agenda if you want support

Nicola Sturgeon 2First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has taken another step on her road to creating a “fairer society” by telling business leaders they can expect support from the government if they play their part in her equality campaign.

Ms Sturgeon said  the government will commit to helping them become more competitive and innovative as long as they sign up to her Scottish Business Pledge.

While there has been broad public agreement, some senior business figures have privately expressed concern that they are being pressured into following a social agenda that may not suit their own and may add to cost pressures.

Nine Scottish ministers representing a broad portfolio of disciplines joined the meeting of the National Economic Forum in Edinburgh, including Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

Ms Sturgeon invited business leaders to help shape policy to grow the economy and tackle inequality. They are being asked to commit to good business practices, such as innovation and internationalisation, the living wage, gender equality and supporting workforce engagement. In return, the government says it will be more likely to offer support.

She said: “The principle of the pledge is straightforward. It enshrines the idea that just as Government will work with business to create a prosperous and strong economy, so business can play a part in delivering a flourishing and a fair society. Nine Scottish Government ministers are here today, covering a wide range of portfolio interests from External Affairs to Skills, Social Justice and Infrastructure.

“Today marks the continuation of a dialogue about how best to make our economy more compatible and our society fairer. Part of that will be the Scottish Business Pledge and we will consider the scope of that further. We need to consider what business wants from government and what contribution business can make in return. We also need to ensure that the pledge makes a real difference.

“What I’m looking to establish is, in effect, a partnership. The Government will support a strong and competitive economy, so that Government and employers together can support a fairer, more prosperous Scotland.”


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