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FM meets CTrip CEO

Sturgeon promotes equality in Shanghai speech

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon: meets top Chinese female business leader (photo by Terry Murden)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will today host an event with Jane Sun – the CEO of CTrip, which owns the Scottish-based travel price-checking website Skyscanner – and one of China’s most prominent female business leaders.

CTrip acquired Skyscanner, one of Scotland’s few ‘unicorn’ companies – those valued at $1bn – in December 2016 in a deal worth £1.4 billion.

The meeting with Ms Sun follows an address in Shanghai where she will make the case for inclusive economic growth to an audience of business leaders.

She will warn that “poverty and inequality – as well as being morally unacceptable – are also deeply economically damaging.”

She will deliver the keynote address at an event entitled “prosperity through economic growth”, on the third day of her visit to China.

An international audience of figures from both Scottish and Chinese business community – as well as industry and university representatives – will attend.

She will outline a number of steps the Scottish Government is taking to promote a fairer economy – including implementing the real living wage across the public sector and encouraging the private sector to increase uptake, encouraging fairer working practices and working in partnership with trade unions, and improving gender equality across the public and private sector.

“Poverty and inequality – as well as being morally unacceptable – are also deeply economically damaging,” she will say.

“OECD researchers estimated that between 1990 and 2010, rising income inequality in the UK reduced our economic output per head by 9 percentage points – that’s approximately £1,600 for everyone in the country.

“Low incomes reduce aggregate demand and restrict the tax revenues needed for investment in infrastructure and education. Unequal economies are also less resilient – they are more likely to depend on borrowing and credit, which means their growth is less likely to be sustainable.

“If we are to make the most of our potential in the 21st century we will have to do more to maximise opportunities for all – regardless of gender or background.

“Promoting equality doesn’t detract from our focus on innovation – it is an essential part of our focus on innovation.”

The First Minister is expected to add: “There is growing interest around the world in promoting inclusive growth; growth which everyone has a fair chance to contribute to, and from which everyone in society can benefit.

“The Scottish Government has been trying to take a lead. In 2015, when we revised our Economic Strategy, we ensured that it focused jointly on increasing competitiveness and tackling inequality. The two can and must go together.

“Progressive employment practices don’t simply play a part in encouraging sustainable growth across the economy as a whole. They will also be good – in the short term as well as the long term – for the bottom line of individual businesses.

“One of the things we are trying to do is to work with business to create a partnership for productivity – one where Government is supportive of business, so that Government and business together can support a fairer, stronger, more prosperous society.

“And of course we know that it’s easier to encourage that sense of partnership if government is doing everything it can to create an environment which promotes enterprise.”

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