New report

Better planning and green transition key to growth

Authors Mairi Spowage and Allan Wernham

Removing barriers in the planning system and fully maximising the opportunities of the green economy are two key planks in Scotland’s growth prospects, according to a new report.

It says current planning rules are a key challenge in attracting investment into the cleaner energies and calls on ministers to provide more help for oil and gas workers to transfer their skills.

This would help build on Scotland’s  existing record of having more university students enrolled in green-related subjects per head of the population than anywhere in the UK.

The report by International Scotland also demands the reinstatement of tourism as a key remit for the Scottish trade minister. Tourism had been at the heart of the former trade minister Ivan McKee’s brief but was removed from any form of ministerial representation when First Minister Humza Yousaf carried out his first cabinet reshuffle in March.

International Scotland is an initiative focused on economic growth launched last year by law firm CMS and the Fraser of Allander Institute.

An initial report set out the opportunities for growth across key sectors such as sustainable tourism, food & drink, life sciences and renewable energy.

This was followed by a series of engagements across the nation with business leaders, Scottish Government ministers and policy groups including Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Economics and Enterprise Committee, Scottish Development International, and Women’s Enterprise Scotland.

Professor Mairi Spowage, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “The key findings in the report reflect both the opportunities that lie ahead as well as the challenges that we need to address in growing our economy and provide a useful focus for the new administration at Holyrood.”

Allan Wernham, managing director of CMS Scotland, said: “A consistent theme emerged that many believe planning is presenting a barrier to economic growth.

“By addressing this we can create a more positive perception of Scotland among global investors and tackle key challenges in progressing the energy transition, creating essential new infrastructure, and building more homes that are needed in our communities.”

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