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Letter 'to Scotland'

27 business leaders back Hunter report on economy

Tom Hunter at Scottish Edge

Sir Tom Hunter: called for change

A group of business leaders have backed a report commissioned by entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter calling for a rethink of economic policy in Scotland.

In an open address “to Scotland” but clearly aimed largely at the political parties, 27 signatories to the statement say there is a need for a more inclusive approach to developing a growth strategy for the nation involving business, government and the trade unions, among others.

The Oxford Economics report Raising Scotland’s Economic Growth Rate was commissioned by the Hunter Foundation and outlined the scale of the challenge facing the country. Among its recommendations was a lowering of tax and a hike in borrowing.

The statement issued today says there should be “no sacred cows” in driving innovation across both the private and public sectors with the aim of tackling Scotland’s low productivity compared to other small nations.

Among the signatories is Andrew Wilson (pictured), chairman of the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission.

Andrew Wilson

Other business leaders outwith those who have signed the letter have stepped forward to voice their support for the message in the report.

Some argue that the Scottish political establishment is too focused on spending and does not pay enough attention to creating the wealth that finances it.

The letter in full:

“We believe the Oxford Economics report, ‘Raising Scotland’s Economic Growth Rate’ underscores the need for inclusive debate across political parties, Government, trade unions, business, the third sector and the media, indeed all concerned parties, to determine a new economic strategy for Scotland.

Radical and ambitious policy changes are required if Scotland’s economic performance is to be transformed and significantly boosted within the next 15 years and there must be no sacred cows as we determine those changes.

We must, as a necessity not a choice, address Scotland’s low productivity, poor business birth rate and lack of success with scale-ups that mean Scotland’s GDP per head is a mere 44% of Singapore’s level, 48% of Ireland’s, 68% of Norway’s and 75% of Denmark’s.

As the report states “it is not realistic to think that the current economic policies of either the UK or Scottish governments will produce a transformation of Scotland’s economic performance”.

Hence we must act now, in collaboration, not conflict, to support and deliver a strategy that takes us up the ladder of GDP and drives innovation and scaling not just within business but across the whole of the public sector.

Achieving significant growth in our GDP is not just in every single person’s interest, it’s an imperative if we are to maintain and indeed enhance our public services and drive the jobs that are so desperately needed post-pandemic.

We owe it to our young people that we create a vibrant economy for them to inherit and we need to be exceptional custodians of Scotland’s future for their sakes. To do so we cannot simply do what we have always done, tinkering on the edges, Scotland needs to think big and it needs to think fast.

Our opportunity is our size; we are a speed boat compared to the super tanker economies and we are a nation that has historically invented the modern world. It’s not beyond our ken to do that again.

We implore a rational, national debate on our economic future to then deliver a strategy and an operational implementation plan for Scotland’s growth. 

Signed:

Andrew Parfery, director, Caresourcer

Andrew Wilson, founding partner, Charlotte Street Partners

Carolyn Currie, chief executive, Women’s Enterprise Scotland

Chris Van Der Kuyl, chairman, 4J Studios

Claus Marquordt, co-founder & CEO, Integrated Graphene

Colin Blair, chairman, Buzzworks Holdings

Craig Letton, CEO, MRM Global

Duncan Maclean, CEO, Candle Shack 

Ellis Watson, director 

Fraser Edmond, CEO, Broker Insights

Kieran Coyle, director, Premiership Experience

Liz Cameron, chief executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Mairi Mickel, director and family business adviser

Marie Clare Tully, chief executive, Columba 1400

Marie Owen, CEO, LS Productions

Mark Beaumont, athlete, broadcaster, investor and author

Mark Scott, director, Bella & Duke

Paddy Burns, CEO , 4J Studios

Philip Ross, director, Safehinge Primera

Poonam Gupta, CEO, PG Paper

Ramin Golzari, director, Highlander Outdoor

Ray Perman, chairman, Inner Ear

Robin Marshall, CEO, Bain Capital

Ross Tuffee, CEO, Iceberg.tech

Sandy Kennedy, CEO, Entrepreneurial Scotland

Sara Thiam, CEO, SCDI

Steven Easton, managing director, Green Home Systems

Comment: Scotland’s Google-sized problem



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