Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Final Report Published on the EDAS Route Map of Common Ambition Policy Framework

EDAS is pleased to publish a report summarising the outputs of its Route Map of Common Ambition policy analysis framework. 

The report contains key messages and findings on the policy fields of innovation, internationalisation and skills, and is available in both executive and full versions. EDAS would like to thank all those who contributed to the work of the Route Map. 

Robert Pollock, Chair of EDAS, will discuss the Route Map report at the EDAS/ SLAED Conference, taking place in Aberdeen tomorrow. 

You can download the report at the links below: 

About the Route Map of Common Ambition

As Scotland's foremost economic development membership association, EDAS decided to create a 'Route Map' strategy of priorities for Scottish economic development following its conference in summer 2014. 

The aims of the Route Map were twofold. First, to reconsider, in a collaborative manner, some of the big policy issues facing the economic development community. Second, to ensure key aspects of Scottish economic development were kept at the forefront of public debate, analysis and comment. The strategy was the outcome of extensive discussion by the EDAS Board and in consultation with our members.  

You can read about the work and outputs of the three Route Map working groups, on internationalisation, innovation and skills, by clicking here.  

Monday, 28 November 2016

EDAS / SLAED Joint Conference, 1st December 2016: Book Today!

On 1st December 2016, EDAS and SLAED host their first joint conference for those leading Scotland’s economic development. The conference is being held in partnership with Aberdeen City Council.

Set against a backdrop of economic and political change, the event will bring together senior professionals to discuss how national strategic aims are delivered locally to maximum impact. With change across a range of scales, including Brexit, extra Holyrood powers, the agencies’ review, budgetary challenges and City Region Deals, the conference represents a timely and important opportunity for leaders in Scotland’s economic development community to come together to collectively consider this changing landscape and shape common action.

With insightful and engaging speakers from within and out with Scotland, delegates will discuss, consider and contribute to policy and practice that supports effective local leadership for delivering economic development.

Speakers include:

Douglas Fraser (Conference Chair), Business and Economic Editor, BBC Scotland 

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Scottish Government

Councillor Jenny Laing, Leader, Aberdeen City Council 

Will Hutton, Principal, Hertford College, University of Oxford 

Jennifer Craw, Chief Executive and Board Director of Opportunity North East, and Chair of Robert Gordon University

A first in Scotland, the conference offers prime networking through EDAS and SLAED networks, drawing 100+ leaders from across public, private, voluntary, political and academic spheres relating to economic development decision making and implementation.

A joint dinner takes place on the evening of 1st December with after dinner guest speaker. An ideal opportunity for more prime networking in a relaxed environment.

Post-Autumn Statement Analysis Suggests Real-Terms Cuts to Scotland’s Budget

FAI  - The Fraser of Allander Institute held a post-Autumn Statement briefing on Friday at the University of Strathclyde.

The presentations – from Director, Graeme Roy and Head of Fiscal Analysis, David Eiser – outlined how the downward revision in growth forecasts following the UK’s decision to leave the EU was impacting upon the outlook for the public finances.

The analysis concludes that the Scottish Budget will be broadly flat in real terms between 2016-17 and 2017-18 (indeed, it will increase marginally) however, overall, the Scottish Government’s resource budget will fall by over 3% in real terms up to 2020-21.

This forecast is similar to that set out by George Osborne back in March, suggesting that the new Chancellor will continue with his predecessors plan to constrain public spending as he looks to tackle a weakening UK fiscal position and uncertain economic outlook.

Given the Scottish Government’s existing spending commitments in key areas such as health and childcare, this implies a real terms cut in unprotected portfolios of between 10-14% (with the range depending upon how well Scottish tax revenues perform relative to equivalent revenues in the UK).

In contrast to the outlook for the resource budget, the Scottish Government’s capital budget will benefit from an £800 million boost to capital investment over the period to 2020-21. Coupled with the power to now borrow up to £450 million per year, this implies a significant increase in the overall amount the Scottish Government has available to spend on new roads, hospitals and schools.

Glasgow City Council Aims for 50,000 New Jobs by 2023

Scotland's largest council is aiming to create 50,000 jobs and 1,000 new businesses over the next seven years.

The targets are part of Glasgow City Council's new economic strategy, which also aims for 25,000 new homes and 1,000 Living Wage employers by 2023.

An £185m increase in tourism revenue is also being sought by adding an extra million visitors annually. This would create demand for a dozen new hotels.

The council said its targets were ambitious but achievable.

The economic strategy was set out by Council leader Frank McAveety at the 19th annual State of the City Economy Conference.

"We aim to make the next seven years the biggest jobs bonanza in Glasgow's history," he said.

"We know that the 50,000 target is ambitious but we have done the sums and they add up.

"We plan to deliver 50,000 jobs across all of the city's employment sectors, from tourism to high-tech, from renewables to health and life sciences."

Other pledges in the strategy include:
  • a 50% reduction in the number of adults with no skills
  • the targeting of new markets in Europe, North America and Asia to attract investment
  • the development of a childcare co-operative to help working families with childcare needs
  • establishing a Health Commission to improve the city's health
The council said that for the first time its economic strategy had been linked to the city's social policies and meeting challenges on health and poverty.

Source: BBC News

Ian Russell Appointed as Chair of Scottish Future Trust

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution Derek Mackay, today [Friday 25th November] announced the appointment of Ian Russell as Chair of Scottish Future Trust.

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution said, “We are delighted to have secured the services of Ian Russell to lead the board of the Scottish Futures Trust, building on the good foundation laid by Sir Angus Grossart the current chair. Ian brings with him relevant experience and business acumen to lead SFT with vision to ensure our strategic objectives are met and deliver improved productivity and value for money from infrastructure investment in Scotland.”


Ian Russell was previously an executive director of Scottish Power Plc for 12 years, initially as Finance Director and then as Chief Executive. For the past 10 years he has held a number of non-executive positions in a variety of commercial and public sector organisations.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Economic Development Project Officer Opportunities with Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen City Council is advertising the following positions. Please click on the links for full information.

Full-time, permanent Project Officer role focussed on inward investment: 

Working in the Economic Development Team within Aberdeen City Council, the Project Officer will engage with businesses, intermediaries and agencies to attract and secure interest from potential investors, support the delivery of investment projects and contribute to the development of policy and strategy.  The role requires individuals to demonstrate a breadth of experience in opportunity identification, stakeholder management, project development and management, and contract management.  Investment or development experience would be advantageous.

Part-time, permanent Project Officer role focussed on employability and skills: 

This role will be key in ensuring delivery of the £ 2.2. Million European funded Employability pipeline project which will deliver valuable support to those wishing to gain the appropriate skills and knowledge which will ultimately lead to employment and improved lifestyles. Following the European funded project the successful applicant will be involved in the development and delivery of a wide range of activities which will promote employability and engagement skills throughout the city. Experience in supporting individuals to an enhanced quality of life would be advantageous. - See more at:

Friday, 18 November 2016

Will Hutton to Discuss Implications of U.S. Election & Brexit for Scottish Economic Development - EDAS / SLAED Conference - 1 December 2016

One of the UK’s leading economists, Will Hutton, is to address senior figures in Scottish economic development at the 1st EDAS / SLAED Conference on 1 December 2016.

Mr Hutton will discuss the wider political and economic circumstances shaping the conditions for economic development in Scotland. These include the U.S. election, Brexit, budgetary pressure, the Autumn statement, spatial imbalance, the changing UK State – and the implications of all this for regional, economic & industrial development in Scotland.

Will Hutton is Principal of Hertford College, Oxford; Chair of the Big Innovation Centre; and former editor-in-chief of the Observer. He is a prominent contributor to national debates on economic policy. His latest article in the Guardian, entitled Trade is the lifeblood of humanity. Closed doors lead to closed minds, argued that “the protectionist rhetoric gaining ground in Britain and the US, where Donald Trump vows to withdraw from Nafta and impose huge tariffs, fatally ignores how exchange between countries brings prosperity and progress”.

Mr Hutton will be joined by a range of speakers at the biggest annual gathering of senior economic development professionals in Scotland. on 1 December at Aberdeen Town House. Hosted by Aberdeen City Council, it will be the first joint conference between EDAS (Economic Development Association Scotland) and SLAED (Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development Group). With change across a range of scales, including Brexit, extra Holyrood powers, the agencies' review, budgetary challenges and City Region Deals, the conference represents a timely and important opportunity for leaders in Scotland's economic development community to come together to collectively consider this changing landscape and shape common action.  

With delegate rates from £100, those wishing to attend are encouraged to reserve soon, as remaining places are being booked up quickly.

Other speakers include: Douglas Fraser (Conference Chair), Business and Economy Editor, BBC Scotland; Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Scottish Government; Councillor Jenny Laing, Leader, Aberdeen City Council;  Jennifer Craw, Chief Executive of ONE (Opportunity North East) and Chair of Robert Gordon University; and  Professor Gary McEwan, Chief Executive, Elevator UK and Honorary Professor of Entrepreneurship at Dundee University - to name but a few.

The conference will bring together senior representation from Scotland’s local authorities, Scottish Government, enterprise agencies, business groups, independent consultants, and the third sector.


Further information on the conference can be found at the links below. Contact Elaine Bone at or telephone 07801 354591 for enquiries. 

For more information: event web page

New Quarterly Labour Market Report from the Fraser of Allander Institute and Scottish Centre for Employment Research

Recent headline indicators of employment and unemployment provide some apparent good news about the Scottish economy. Yet some of these recent trends – including this week’s further fall in unemployment – are masking a number of underlying challenges, according to a new report out today by the Fraser of Allander Institute and the Scottish Centre for Employment Research at the University of Strathclyde.

On the basis of headline indicators such as the unemployment rate, Scotland’s labour market continues to perform relatively well in what continues to be a challenging economic environment.  However, some of the recent positive statistics hide a number of underlying challenges in the Scottish labour market. For instance, this report shows that over two thirds of the growth in employment over the past decade has been in part-time employment. In addition, the recent sharp fall in unemployment appears to stem, not from people finding work, but from people exiting the labour force.

Looking forward, the most significant development over the next 6 – 12 months will arguably be the impact of rising inflation on earnings and household incomes. This will erode the value of existing pay awards and with sluggish demand in the near term, this could translate into weak real earnings for those already in work and fewer opportunities for those seeking to gain work.

You can now follow the ‘Fraser’ on Twitter  and the new Fraser Blog.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Speaking Opportunity at IEDC 2017

Here's your chance to speak at the International Economic Development Council’s first ever Annual Conference held outside the United States - Toronto, Ontario, Canada. You only have two days left to submit a session proposal to help shape the program. Take full advantage of this opportunity to share your knowledge with others at the largest annual gathering of economic developers. Download the request form now.

The deadline is two days away on Friday, November 18.

Content areas you'll cover during Annual Conference:

1. Building Local Linkages and Expanding Global Trade
2. Cashing in on Creative Capital
3. Nurturing the Startup Ecosystem
4. Regional Collaboration for Investment Promotion
5. The Nuts and Bolts of Economic Development

See descriptions for each area.

Please note: Session proposals should address trends and topics that reflect the wide-ranging needs and interests of IEDC's diverse membership.

Don't delay, only 48 hours remain to send your proposal and lock in this opportunity to share ideas with your peers. Download the RFSP

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

PwC Forecasts Fall in Scottish Economic Growth

The Scottish economy is expected to slow down next year as employment growth continues to be negative, according to business advisers PwC.

They predict economic growth will fall from 1.8% in 2016 to 0.9% in 2017.
Growth for the UK is also forecast to fall, from 2.1% this year to 1.2%.

PwC's latest UK Economic Outlook report blamed the UK-wide slowdown on "the drag on investment from increased political and economic uncertainty following the Brexit vote".

However, it predicted that both Scotland and the UK should manage to avoid recession.

'Opposite trend'

Scotland is expected to be the only part of the UK to see continued negative figures for employment growth.

The report said more people would be "economically inactive" in the coming year.

PwC partner Paul Brewer said official job figures for June to August showed the economic inactivity rate for working-age adults fell UK-wide compared with the previous year.

But he pointed out that the trend had moved in the other direction for Scotland.

Mr Brewer said: "When you break down the Scottish figures, you see that the inactivity rate for men has only increased very slightly over this period from 17.9% to 18%, but the female rate has risen much more markedly from 24.5% to 26.5%.

"Our recent work...suggests that the health of the working age population is one factor but there is a challenge here to identify why this is happening and what - if anything - can be done to address it."

PwC said it expected UK inflation to rise to about 2.7% by the end of 2017 as the effects of a weaker pound fed through to consumers, squeezing real spending power.

Source: BBC News

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Scotland Reports Another Record Year of Risk Capital Investment

10/11/2016 - The Scottish Investment Bank today announced the findings of its annual risk capital market report, revealing that risk capital investment in Scotland was up 70% to £430m in 2015. The results represent an almost fourfold increase in investment since 2012.

The announcement was made as Kerry Sharp, head of Scottish Investment Bank, led a delegation of Scottish companies at the EIE technology investor showcase event in London.  Scotland’s presence at the event reflects the growing attractiveness of Scottish start-ups to London’s investment community, and follows a recent trip to EIE Hong Kong & Shenzhen last month.

During 2015, VCs based outside of the UK invested some £290m (80% of VC investment) into Scottish SMEs, building on over £50m from the rest of the UK.
The Risk Capital Market in Scotland (2015), commissioned by Scottish Enterprise and undertaken by Young Company Finance, also found that 2015 was a record year for business angel investment in Scotland, with over £30m investment from this source, representing a 15% increase on 2014.

The report, the latest in a series from Scottish Enterprise, provides detailed analysis of the early stage risk capital market in Scotland.

Key findings from 2015 include:
  • Deals of over £2m are now a strong feature of the Scottish market. In common with other regions, 2015 was again characterised by the presence of significant large deals, with the top 2 deals accounting for 60% of total investment.
  • While the number of follow-on investment deals into Scottish SMEs reduced by 6% over the year, the total amount invested in follow-on increased by 85%.
  • The number of first time investment deals for Scottish companies continued to increase (from 52 to 54) during the year, with a 5% increase in amount invested (£41m). This is a changed position from 2012 when 30 companies received investment for the first time and amount invested reached £15m.
  • The ICT and Life Sciences sectors continued their dominance with almost 80% of all deals. The Renewables sector again featured highly with 14 deals and a relatively high average investment level per deal.
Commenting on the report, Kerry Sharp, head of the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, said: “This report highlights that ambitious Scottish companies continue to attract significant investment; a terrific result, reflecting ongoing demand for investment from growth-oriented companies, matched by growing interest in Scottish propositions from new and existing investment partners.

“On the supply side, we remain focused on maintaining a buoyant risk capital market environment, and continue to seek new investment partners to work alongside our existing partners and co-invest in the next generation of ambitious Scottish companies. ’’

Jonathan Harris, editor of Young Company Finance and director of Research and Communications at LINC Scotland, added: "The risk capital market in Scotland has consolidated considerably in the past couple of years, with more funding available to young companies, from a wide range of sources including business angels and angel syndicates, crowdfunding, venture capital (VC) firms, and corporate venturers.  Most months see new investors arriving on the scene, adding to the variety of funding sources. And Scotland is now beginning to see some very large investment deals - still few in number, but no longer entirely unique."

The EIE London 2016 investor showcase, running as part of NOAH London, takes place at Old Billingsgate, and provides a unique opportunity to showcase some of Scotland’s top tech companies. With around 350-400 VC and private equity investors expected to attend, the Scottish delegation is hoping to make its mark on the London investment community. The ten Scottish start-ups selected by Informatics Ventures to represent Scotland at EIE London are: Comcarde, Hermes Apps, SnapDragonIP, snap40, Make it Social, Cognitive Geology, Krotos, Digital Sports Arena, Talking Medicines and The ID Co.  

In addition to the Scottish startups, EIE London also features early stage tech companies from across the UK and Europe.

The companies attending the London event hope to emulate the success of the trip to EIE China last month, where 11 Scottish companies pitched to over 200 international investors at events in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and had a number of positive follow up meetings and conversations while out in market.

Carnegie UK Trust Publishes International Research on “Turnaround Towns”

10/11/2016 - The places where we live have a significant impact on our social, economic, environmental and democratic wellbeing. In the UK and Ireland, where millions of us live in small and medium-sized towns, the health of our towns is of critical importance to the wellbeing of many.

This report sets out a clear policy framework for understanding and developing a narrative about how the fortunes of a town might be transformed, highlighting key lessons and themes that appear across the eight international case studies, focusing on the most salient points for policymakers and practitioners in the UK.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Businesses in Scotland 2016 – Statistics Published

08/11/2016 - Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released Businesses in Scotland 2016.

The main findings are:

There were 350,410 private sector businesses operating in Scotland as at March 2016 - a decrease of 3.0 per cent since March 2015.

The decrease over the latest year is as a result of a fall in the number of unregistered businesses, the smallest sole traders and partnerships that are not registered for VAT/PAYE. Unregistered businesses are down by 7.6 per cent from 191,010 in 2015 to 176,420 in 2016.

However, the number of registered businesses has increased by 2.1 per cent from 170,335 in 2015 to 173,995 in 2016. The number of registered businesses in Scotland is at its highest level in the series back to 2000. 

As at March 2016, there were 348,045 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises operating in Scotland, providing an estimated 1.2 million jobs. SMEs accounted for 99.3 per cent of all private sector enterprises and accounted for 54.6 per cent of private sector employment and 40.5 per cent of private sector turnover.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


Unregistered enterprises are micro businesses which consist of only a sole trader or partners. 

Unregistered enterprises do not employ others and have an annual turnover below the VAT threshold (£82,000 as at March 2016).

The estimates include businesses that operate in Scotland irrespective of whether their main UK base is in Scotland or elsewhere. Businesses are classified by employee size bands based on the number of their total UK employees. 

The full statistical publication is available at

This publication contains statistics on the number of enterprises (businesses) operating in Scotland. Statistics are provided by industry, business size, local authority area, urban/rural area and country of ownership.

Further information on Business and Enterprise statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

£60m European Funding Boost for Scottish SMEs

More than 20,000 businesses will benefit from a £60 million investment, with EU money being used to grow Scotland’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The European Regional Development Fund support will bolster the business growth pipeline, allowing companies to access the help they need to expand. With SMEs accounting for 95% of businesses in Scotland, this funding will target growth through innovation and investment.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown will confirm the funding on a visit to manufacturing firm Andrew Wright Glass in Irvine. He said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to support our SMEs – the engine of the Scottish economy. The investment will benefit more than 20,000 enterprises, with the aim of identifying and developing our next 1,000 growth businesses. Business Gateway support alone is forecast to create 11,000 jobs.

Living Wage Rate Increased by 20p an Hour

The UK voluntary living wage, promoted by the Living Wage Foundation campaign group, is to rise by 20p an hour.

The new rate is rising to £8.45 per hour, from its current £8.25. For those living in London, the rate will rise by 35p to £9.75 an hour, the city's Mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced.

Nearly 3,000 businesses are signed up to the scheme, including Ikea and EDF.

The scheme is separate from the government's National Living Wage, introduced in April this year.

The government's figure is set at £7.20 an hour for workers aged 25 and above.

"Today's new living wage rates bring a welcome pay rise to thousands of workers across the UK," said Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation.

"One in five people earn less than the wage they need to get by. That's why it's more important than ever for leading employers to join the growing movement of businesses and organisations that are going further than the government minimum and making sure their employees earn enough to cover the cost of living."

On Monday, a number of new companies announced their commitment to pay the living wage, including RSA Insurance, the British Library, Curzon Cinemas and Everton football club.

The level of the voluntary living wage is calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation, a not-for-profit research and policy organisation.

It is overseen by the Living Wage Commission, which is appointed by the Living Wage Foundation and includes representation from employers, trade unions, civil society and independent experts.

Source: BBC News

Scots Firms 'Still Optimistic on Growth'

Scotland's businesses remain optimistic about future growth despite increasing political and economic uncertainty, according to new research.

Business advisors Grant Thornton found more than half of business leaders questioned were confident about the country's economy over the next year.

It also found confidence was among the highest in Europe and the G7.

However, there were signs political uncertainty was leading firms to be more cautious on future investments.

The research revealed that only 34% of Scottish companies planned to increase their number of employees in the coming year - 19% down on 2015.

'Warning signs'

Debbie Mayor, from Grant Thornton in Scotland, said the latest set of data provided some reassurance during a time of great uncertainty.
She said: "Businesses in Scotland remain resilient and focused on driving forward their growth ambitions.

"But, despite that positive news, there are clearly some warning signs.

"With relatively few companies planning to increase employment and export figures falling short of what we might expect, it's clear we need to address some of the critical issues facing the country's economy in the coming months.

"It's particularly challenging for businesses to plan ahead when potentially game-changing political decisions are anticipated, from single market access to Scottish independence."

A survey of nearly 400 firms published earlier this month suggested the Scottish economy has been growing since the Brexit vote in June - but only at a slow pace.
Firms reported generally weaker trends in both performance and optimism than last year.

Source: BBC News