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Friday, 17 November 2017

Health and Social care now the biggest employer in Scotland

A new Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) report shows that most people in Scotland are now employed by the NHS or local councils. Health and social care now accounts for 16% of jobs in Scotland, and is likely to continue to rise as the population ages. 

This marks a shift from traditional occupations. Ewan Gibbs, a historical political economy researcher at the University of the West of Scotland, said the 21st century workforce was largely unrecognisible compared with that of 50 or 60 years ago “There were over 250,000 Scots employed in coal mining, steelmaking, shipbuilding and related heavy engineering in 1958 and comparative figures now will be highly negligible,” he said. “Shipbuilding is largely a defence operation now. Steel is restricted to speciality and refinement with no basic production. Coal has essentially disappeared.” 

He continued: “A key point to make would be that process of erosion didn’t all happen in the 1980s. For instance, more coal jobs were actually lost in the 1960s – but at that point they were managed through industrial diversification policies that brought alternative forms of employment in assembly engineering activities.”

The changes in industry and agriculture are in line with other similar economies. The retail sector has also decreased, as more people shop online. 

Of those in employment, 4% were self employed, 32% part time employed and 64% in full time jobs. This shows a 1% increase in part time employment with 70,000 more people now working part time. 


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

UK Employment Figures Fall

Employment in the UK has fallen for the first time in two years. The number of unemployed people went up by 14,000 in the summer quarter according to the Office for National Statistics. The inactivity rate: measuring those who are not employed and are not seeking work, rose to an eight year high. The highest rates of inactivity were amongst 18-24 year olds suggesting that young people are leaving work for further education. 

There is speculation that the impact of Brexit is being felt, with figures being released yesterday that show the UK economy growing at half the rate of Germany's. 

Howard Archer, an economist with EY Item Club, a forecasting body said; “A fall in employment over the quarter suggests that persistent lacklustre economic growth and appreciable economic and Brexit uncertainties may be starting to rein in the labour market’s strength,”  

The ONS said the unemployment rate held at a four-decade low of 4.3 percent but that pay growth -- which would usually be expected to rise with so many people in work -- remained much slower than inflation.

Further evidence of a weaker labour market came from a fall in job vacancies, a 29,000 decline in the number of full-time jobs and an increase in the number of part-time workers saying that they would like to have full-time employment.

The report comes one week before Phillip Hammond set the budget for the UK. 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Inequality is rising as report finds that richest 1% own half the world's wealth

A report published this morning by Credit Suisse has found that 1% of the world's population own 50.1% of the world's wealth. 

The report looks at where we are ten years on from the financial crisis, it shows that total global wealth is 27% higher today than it was in 2007 before the financial crisis. It also shows that the number of millionaires has increased by 8,740,000 since 2007 leading to one of the largestest outcomes of the financial crisis to be an increase in inequality. 

It says:

'The remaining negative heritage of the financial crisis is wealth inequality. It has been rising in all parts of the world since 2007. As calculated by the report authors, the top 1 percent of global wealth holders started the millennium with 45.5 percent of all household wealth, but their share has since increased to a level of 50.1 percent today.'

'The outlook for the millionaire segment is more optimistic than for the bottom of the wealth pyramid (less than 10,000 dollars per adult). The former is expected to rise by 22 percent, from 36 million people today to 44 million in 2022, while the group occupying the lowest tier of the pyramid is expected to shrink by only 4 percent.'

Oxfam said Credit Suisse’s research showed that politicians need to do more to tackle the “huge gulf between the haves and the have-nots”. 
“In the UK, the wealthiest 1% have seen their share increase to nearly a quarter of all the country’s wealth, while the poorest half have less than 5%,” Oxfam’s head of advocacy, Katy Chakrabortty, said. “This divide matters hugely at a time when millions of people across the UK face a daily struggle to make ends meet and the numbers living in poverty are the highest for almost 20 years. 
“The recent Paradise Papers revelations laid bare one of the main drivers of inequality – tax-dodging by rich individuals and multinationals. Governments should act to tackle extreme inequality that is undermining economies around the world, dividing societies and making it harder than ever for the poorest to improve their lives. 
“In the UK, the chancellor should use next week’s budget to prioritise tough action to tackle tax avoidance to help provide funds to fight poverty in both the UK and developing countries.”

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Pound Falls against Dollar and Euro over governmental instability.

The pound has fallen this morning as pressure mounts on prime minister Theresa May over Britain's exit from the EU. Talks from both Micheal Barnier and Brexitiers in the cabinet have lead to a shock for the British market. 
Sterling has lost almost a cent this morning, to below $1.31. This follows yesterday's report in the Sunday Times that 40 Conservative members of Parliament have agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in Theresa May.
Forty eight is the number needed to launch a leadership challenge, creating new worries in the City and beyond about the stability of the UK government.
In another significant move, foreign secretary Boris Johnson and environment secretary Michael Gove have written a letter to May complaining that “some parts of Government” aren’t doing enough to prepare for a hard Brexit.

This letter, which leaked over the weekend, appears to be an attempt to undermine chancellor Philip Hammond (as he puts the finishing touches to next week’s budget).
One minister has described the move as “Orwellian”, suggesting that the cabinet is badly split as MPs return to parliament to debate the Brexit bill.
Rajeev Syal and Jon Henley reported in the Guardian that :
'Another minister said' “I doubt they thought this would ever come out. It stinks to high heaven. May will have to dress them down or look weak.”
“I can’t believe this has come out. This is exactly the kind of arm-twisting by Brexiters one expects to go on behind the scenes, but the fact that it is in the public and is being inflicted upon the prime minister is remarkable.”
Kathleen Brooks of City index writes: 
'Firstly, today’s move tells us that the markets are on alert for political risks emanating out of the UK, and if there is a party coup to replace Theresa May then political turbulence is likely to weigh on the pound further.
Secondly, even though the pound has had a jolty start to the week, volatility and technical signals do not suggest to us that the pound is about to fall off a cliff just yet, we may need this story to develop further to get another big move lower in sterling. 
Thirdly, don’t get too complacent about the pound, the political and Brexit situations remain fluid and can throw up surprises. In future, when volatility is low in the pound investors should be on their guard that a pullback is likely. '

Source: Guardian/ City Index

Friday, 10 November 2017

EU calls for Ireland to remain in Single Market and Customs Union to avoid hard border.

A working paper has been published by the EU requesting that the Island of Ireland remains within the single market and customs union.

The paper says that in order to avoid a hard border it is essential that there is no difference in rules for either side of the border. 

It also explicitly spells out the fact that to avoid a hard border will take more than technical arrangements as favoured by the British Government: NI must be within the single market. 

The question of protecting the Good Friday agreement is also addressed; Both the UK and the EU named this as a priority. 

The Irish Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, said that talk of individual countries vetoing a move to the next stage of negotiations is "unhelpful" but progress still had to be made on the border issue.
"I think that there is a way to go between the two negotiating teams to be able to provide credible answers and sufficient progress in the context of the Irish border before we can move on to Phase Two," he told Irish state broadcaster, RTE. 
A spokesman for the UK's department for leaving the EU said that the government is committed to avoiding a hard border. 
"We recognise that the solutions to the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland must respect the integrity of the EU single market and customs union.
"But they must also respect the integrity of the United Kingdom."
"The government is determined to find specific solutions to Northern Ireland's unique circumstances, not least as the only part of the UK to share a land border with an EU member state."

The Commission document will place more pressure on the Conservative government given its reliance on the DUP for survival.

Northern Ireland remaining inside the customs union and single market, while the rest of the UK was outside, would impose an entirely new structure on the United Kingdom.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Paradise Papers

Leaked documents of 13.4m files from two offshore service providers and 19 tax havens' company registries know as the paradise papers have been released, revealing how much wealth is stored off shore to avoid tax. 

Amongst the offshore wealth is 10 Million pounds worth of investment made on behalf of the Queen by the Duchy of Lancaster. Some of this investment was in Bright House, a company that charges high rates of interest on household goods for those who cannot afford to buy them outright. Last week Bright House was ordered to pay back £14.8m to its customers last week after the Financial Conduct Authority said it had not acted as a “responsible leader”.

Apple was also found to have moved parts of it's operation to Jersey, to avoid tax on $252bn. This move was after Apple came under scrutiny for their previous Irish tax avoidance system.

Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft is also under investigation for using an offshore trust to shelter wealth. With 13.4 million files, many more tax avoidance schemes are sure to continue to come to light. 

After the revelations, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, appeared to suggest the Queen should apologise. “Anyone that is putting money into tax havens in order to avoid taxation in Britain, and obviously investigations have to take place, should do two things – not just apologise for it but also recognise what it does to our society,” said Corbyn.

Theresa May said that ‘HMRC is already able to see more information about the ownership of shell companies for example so they can ensure that people are paying their tax.’ 

Monday, 30 October 2017

Job Opportunities at The Federation of Small Business

FSB are looking to recruit two development managers and an operational support co-coordinator. 

FSB are experts in business, offering services including advice, financial expertise, support and a powerful voice in government. Their mission is to help small business achieve their ambitions. 

Friday, 27 October 2017

Managing People for Work Place Innovation Master Class

Scottish Enterprise

Managing People for Workplace Innovation Masterclass

*Best Western Invercarse Hotel** Dundee, 2 November

HR and people management can play a crucial role in supporting employees to innovate and contribute to business performance. HR practices that support upskilling and collaboration can help people to develop and share ideas and solve problems together.
Interested to find out more? Join us at this FREE Workplace Innovation Masterclass on November 2nd in Dundee.

Empowering your employees to innovate
Our latest Workplace Innovation Masterclass will provide opportunities to share good practice and network with likeminded innovative businesses. We will also have keynotes from leading business innovators and experts including:
  • Sandy Begbie, Global Head of People, Standard Life Aberdeen
  • Paul Succony, UK Total Supply Chain Director, Farne Salmon and Lyons Seafoods
  • Dr Kristina Potocnik, University of Edinburgh Business School

Register now

Almost Half of Scottish Over 40s Unable to Afford Retirement

Research by YouGov commissioned by Age Scotland and Business in Community has found that 43% of Scots age 40-64 will not have enough money to retire by state pension age.  
44% of those survey said they would work until their late 60s to afford their retirement. 36% of those planned to continue in their current job at full time hours, while 25% wish to move to part time in later years. 24% of those looking to reduce their hours wished to do so because their job would be too physically demanding while 18% said their health wouldn't be good enough.

However, 22% of those surveyed said that they would miss the social side of work so would continue for this reason. 

Chief executive Brian Sloan said: "It's worrying that retirement seems increasingly unaffordable for a growing number of Scots.
"While there are various reasons people choose to keep working, money concerns are the main factor forcing them to work into their late 60s and beyond. At the same time, many feel they will need to reduce their hours or switch to a less physically demanding job.
"Of course many people choose to stay on at work because they enjoy the social side or want to share their skills. Yet instead of an ageing workforce being seen as a valuable asset, too many older workers continue to face negative perceptions or age discrimination.
"There is a growing need for more guidance to help people plan their future working life and prepare ahead for retirement. We're pleased that most Scots support our plan for a 'career MOT at 50' to enable them to make informed choices about training, pension provision and future career options.
"As the state pension age increases, working longer is set to become part of life. We're urging the Scottish Government to continue to invest in our older workers, tackle barriers to working, and offer mid-career guidance to everyone who requires it.'
Source: Age Scotland/ YouGov

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Inflation Rises to Five Year High

Inflation increased to three percent in September, the highest in five years. 
The Resolution Foundation have warned that this rise will hit low and middle income families standard of living; a working family with two children could lose  up to £315 pounds a year. 

Food and transport are the main drivers of rising costs  rising by 0.8% since last year. Benefits are currently frozen for the next four years, so an increase in inflation could hit recipients very hard.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the figure highlighted the risk of setting benefits rates far in advance, with recipients set to lose out as an unintended consequence.
A spokesperson said:
“This morning’s inflation figure, taken together with the latest inflation forecasts, means that the four-year freeze on most working-age benefits is now expected to cut the benefits of 10 million families by £450 a year in real terms – up from £320 back when the freeze was first announced. The extra £130 loss is not the result of any deliberate decision by the government – it is the consequence of inflation being higher than was expected when the policy was set.”
Scottish Chambers of Commerce CEO Liz Cameron said: “The figures today continue to highlight the divergence between cost of living and real wages which characterises the fragility of the UK economy.  
“Speculation continues to increase around the prospect of an interest rates rise in November, yet the inflation figures emphasise the uncertainty this would cause to both Scottish business and the UK economy as a whole.
“In the current climate, while real wages are falling, the MPC should continue to hold steady on interest rates.
“It is critical that the measures provided in the Chancellor’s upcoming Autumn Budget are clearly designed to boost business confidence and increase investment. 
“Ensuring a stable environment for business growth will contribute to rising wages, and a subsequent rise in consumer confidence.”
Source: Holyrood 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Centre for Local Economic Strategies publishes Post Brexit Procurement Policy Framework

Centre for Local Economic Strategies publishes Post Brexit Procurement Policy Framework

The Centre for Local Economic Strategies has published a study that recommends progressive procurement policy for a post brexit environment. 

CLES has been working for 10 years on a study that looks at how "anchor institutions purchase goods and services can bring direct benefits for local business and organisations and indirect benefits for the local economy, social economy and people". 

There are currently three governing principles that are followed as standard practice: 

1. ensuring competition in the process and the movement of goods and services across borders;

2. ensuring procurement is undertaken in a legally compliant and risk averse way; and

3. ensuring procurement is undertaken in an efficient manner, with cost the predominant decision-making criteria.

To this CLED suggests adding three further principles to ensure more sustainable procurement:

1. The Directives talk about the importance of flexibility in procurement so that processes are more reflective of the nature of the good and service being procured and its value, thus making it simpler.

2. They talk about the importance of Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to national economies and the need to procure more of them.

3. And they talk about the need for the process of procurement to be linked to and address wider social and environmental goals.

CLES also set out a best practice guide for how to best implement post-brexit procurement.  They see Brexit as a "significant opportunity for UK Government and place based anchor institutions to re-shape legislation around public procurement and in turn how procurement is undertaken in policy, strategy and practice terms."

You can read the full report and recommendations here. 

Source: CLES 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

£6 Million pound fund announced for rural tourism infrastructure.

A six million pound investment in rural infrastructure has been announced by the Scottish government. The boost comes as record tourist numbers have been seen in the UK over the last year. The money will go towards improving parking, recycling points, campsite facilities and footpath access. 
The fund will be launched in 2018 and be administered by local councils and public sector partners. 
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The tourist boom that our country is enjoying is great news. It means more jobs and investment but it can also mean pressure on transport, services and facilities – especially in rural areas. The Scottish Government is determined to help.
“Our new £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund will take bids from communities and work with local councils to support projects that enable even more people to enjoy Scotland, the most beautiful country in the world.”


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

“Brexit: What’s at Stake for Businesses”

A new report published by the Scottish government details how uncertainty is impacting companies. The report is published just as Theresa May failed to assure EU citizen's rights in the case of a no deal Brexit. 

Businesses believe that Brexit may impact recruitment, and hinder future growth. The report uses business leader's own words and focuses on issues such as:

  • Glasgow Airport's possible loss of the legal framework to fly its current EU routes and some long-haul, including to the US and Canada
  • Loch Melfort Hotel, Argyll worries about the difficulty of having to attract and retain staff.
  • The Scottish Salmon Company with 60 sites, employing more than 500 people – on importance of remaining in the Single Market to allow trade relationships to grow
Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe Michael Russell said:
"This report articulates the concerns of Scottish businesses as the Brexit clock ticks towards the UK’s departure from the EU. It is clear that there is a great deal at stake for every business. Their voices must be listened to before irreversible decisions are taken.”
Founder and Creative Director of Maramedia Nigel Pope said:
“I’m delighted to see the publication of this report. As a producer of international wildlife programming with global relationships it’s essential that our business retains access to the Single Market for future growth.”
Amanda McMillan, Managing Director of Glasgow Airport said:
“The uncertainty regarding the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU is already having an impact on the aviation industry. A number of airlines have stated they will scale back their UK growth plans, focusing instead on adding capacity at airports in the EU. This has the potential to undermine Scotland’s connectivity.”

Source: Scottish Government report. 

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Job creation for inclusive growth in cities

Joseph Rowntree has published a report that identifies 'more and better jobs' in UK cities. 

The report shows:

  • There is a significant shortfall in labour demand in 12 major UK cities.
  • Local industrial strategies can raise labour demand in cities and can complement supply-side policies.
  • Policy interventions should be based on clear and robust aims and rationales, and careful coordination with supply-side initiatives.
  • The priorities for demand-side policies are:

  • Identifying and targeting inclusive growth sectors, fostering demand-led skills development, building closer employer engagement and partnership focused on priority sectors.
  • Lobbying for greater devolved powers, and strengthening policy analysis and evaluation frameworks.

Joseph Roundtree Foundation find freeze on benefits 'single biggest policy driver' behind expected rise in poverty

The Joseph Roundtree Foundation has released research that shows that almost half a million more people would be forced into poverty over the next three years if the proposed freeze on benefits goes ahead. 

A new briefing by JRF published yesterday highlights how the freeze makes families worse off - the majority of whom are in work. The freeze is the single biggest policy driver behind the expected rise in poverty by the end of the Parliament.

JRF is calling for the Government to target its resources better at struggling families. Rather than increase the personal tax allowance to £12,500, which would overwhelmingly benefit better off families, JRF is urging the Government to remove the benefits freeze. Only £1 in every £6 spent on raising the personal tax allowance goes to the bottom half of the income distribution.

The influential thinktank say that the hit on families is set to be just under £1bn more than the £4bn initially forecast, due to prices rising quicker than expected.

They found the plans, which were drawn up while George Osborne was Chancellor, will lead to 470,000 more people living in poverty by 2020/21.
They say that in 2019/20, when the freeze is set to end, a couple with two children receiving the soon to be rolled out Universal Credit will be £832 worse off a year than they would have been had benefits risen in line with inflation since 2010.
They say that boosting income related benefits with inflation in 2018/19, at a cost of £2.8bn, would instead result in 380,000 fewer people living in poverty in 2020/21 - nine in 10 of whom would be in families with children and 17 in 20 would be working families.

Chief Executive of the foundation, Campbell Robb said: 
“People who are just managing at best are being hit in the pocket by the freeze on benefits and tax credits. It means millions of families are finding life even harder to make ends meet - whether paying for the weekly food shop, covering energy bills or finding enough money to pay the rent.

“While the Treasury gains from this policy in the short-term, more children living in poverty has costs the Exchequer an estimated £6.4bn per year in lost tax revenue and additional benefit spending.

“The focus should be on making sure low-income family budgets keep pace with the cost of essentials, while reducing the benefit bill through increasing employment and enabling people on low pay to increase their earnings.

“No government wants to fight an election on a record of rising poverty and falling living standards. Circumstances have changed, so policy needs to change too. As prices rise, the priority should be to protect the budgets of the lowest income families. It’s time to lift the freeze.”

Source: Joseph Roundtree Foundation/

Monday, 9 October 2017

Nicola Sturgeon Announces that the Scottish government will pay 'settled status' fees for EU migrants

The first minister announced yesterday that the Scottish government will pay the settled status fee for any EU citizen working in the public sector. 

This follows Theresa May's assurance that 'settled status' will be offered to EU citizens who have been in the UK for 5 years or more. This statement came with a strongly suggested caveat that there will be a fee to pay to ensure status. 
Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Ms Sturgeon said EU migrants had made a big contribution and their right to remain in Scotland should be guaranteed.
She said: "It appears that the UK government is going to make EU citizens apply for what they're calling settled status and possibly charge a fee for that.
"They haven't said what that fee would be, but if it's the same as it is for residents, it will be around £65.

"We will pay that for workers in the public sector. Why? Because it helps individuals, it helps us keep vital workers in the NHS and public services and it sends a message to EU nationals that we want them to stay here because we welcome them."

Source: BBC

Friday, 6 October 2017

Mixed reactions to Scottish Government's Fair Start Scotland Scheme

Anger as Fair Start contracts have been predominantly awarded to the private sector.

The Scottish Government has given most of the £96 million pounds worth of contracts for the new Fair Start Scotland scheme to private companies. 

The scheme which will begin in April 2018  will partner with different organisations at a local level to provide opportunities for people far away from the job market into work. It aims to help 38,000 people including those with disabilities or mental health issues. 

The Employability Minister James Hepburn said:
“We are taking a different approach to the UK Government and listening to the views of unemployed people,"
"By delivering Fair Start Scotland in nine contract areas we are reflecting Scotland’s different geographies, economies and population spread – as opposed to the UK Government’s approach which simply considered Scotland as one area."

Mhariri Black MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South welcomed the scheme saying 
“Employment support provided by the government should be seen as an opportunity to find work and not as a redundant task surrounding filling out forms as has been the norm with similar programmes we have seen from the DWP.”

“Making this service voluntary is a vital step forward as people will not be forced to take part under the threat of their money being sanctioned, which have been proven not to work, or save the tax payer any money.”
“The UK “workfare” schemes have been compared to modern day slavery for some benefit claimants and introducing an individual approach for each person looking for employment that is tailored to their skills is common sense from the Scottish Government.”

Whlist there is a mixture of public, private and third sector organisations only Forth Valley will be lead by the public sector and North East and West Scotland by the third. 

Chief executive Dr Sally Witcher of Disabled people's organisation Inclusion Scotland said “We are disappointed and somewhat surprised that the new programmes will be delivered primarily by the same large providers behind the Department of Work and Pension’s discredited Work Programme.

“Disabled people were led to expect a step change in how the new devolved employability schemes would be delivered in Scotland.'

“Instead disabled people will feel let down that the contracts have been awarded to some groups that have shown that they cannot be trusted to deliver with dignity, respect and fairness the services disabled people need.

“The onus is now on the successful bidders to show that whatever their past record they can deliver the inclusive services that disabled people have been promised. Inclusion Scotland will be monitoring their progress very closely.”

Fraser Kelly, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise Scotland said: "Social Enterprise Scotland is pleased that The Wise Group has been appointed as a preferred bidder in the Fair Start Scotland employability programme. However, we find it hard to understand how, after such a thorough consultation process, the vast majority of contracts have been awarded to big private sector corporations instead of social enterprises and charities."
John Downie, director of public affairs for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said:

 “The Scottish Government promised a brave new world in its vision for employability in Scotland. Its ambitions were that the third sector would be heart and centre of the new employability landscape, but instead charities and voluntary organisations have been side-lined to make way for private companies which lack the local knowledge required.

“The reality of this new employability landscape is that it won’t deliver the best outcomes for unemployed people – particularly those who experience multiple barriers to employment, who will end up receiving a second class public service.”

Hepburn also confirmed the new scheme would be voluntary so will not be associated with benefit sanctions.
Source: Hollyrood Magazine/ Renrewshire 24

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

New Census Reveals Big Growth of Social Enterprises in Scotland

The latest Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2017 report has been launched in Glasgow today (Wednesday 6 September). The new report shows clear growth in the number of social enterprises and their economic impact.
The research cements Scotland’s global reputation as a world-leading nation in the support and development of social enterprise:
  • 5600 social enterprises now operating in Scotland (up from 5199 in 2015)
  • 64% of Scotland’s social enterprises led by women
  • £2bn GVA, the economic contribution of social enterprises to Scotland
  • 34% of social enterprises located in rural Scotland
  • 50% negatively affected by the economic climate over the last 12 months
  • 599 social enterprises formed in the last two years
  • 81,357 full-time equivalent employees in Scottish social enterprises
  • 1:2.5, is the average differential between the highest and lowest paid worker

Read the full report and summary documents
The project was led in partnership with a range of sector support organisations and The Scottish Government.
Gerry Higgins, of Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS), speaking on behalf of the steering group said:

“Social Enterprise in Scotland: Census 2017 demonstrates a strong and growing social enterprise community in Scotland. The data in the report contain a broadly positive picture, with social enterprises making a significant economic contribution and demonstrating resilience in the face of challenges for the economy and public services. 
“Social enterprises play an essential role in communities across the country, particularly in the most remote parts of Scotland. The 2017 Census also shows that some parts of the sector remain fragile or in need of continuing support to fully realise their potential. 
“This is the second time we've measured social enterprise activity across every region of Scotland and allows us to begin comparing and contrasting the data with the 2015 Census. 
“As public expectations of business and the need for an inclusive economy grow, we need to continue investing in Scotland's world-class support for social enterprise. A huge thank you must go to everyone who took part in leading the research, from the national steering group to the dedicated research team who produced such a thorough and robust report.” 
Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, The Scottish Government said:
“I have no doubt of the contribution that social enterprises make to our country. They are fantastic examples of what we want to achieve in a fairer Scotland - reducing inequality, lifting people out of poverty and encouraging more empowered and resilient communities. It is staggering, but perhaps unsurprising, that the sector makes a combined contribution to the Scottish economy every year of just over £2 billion. 
“The Scottish Government will continue to support social enterprises through our ten year strategy, investing millions of pounds into the sector. We are also keen to work with social enterprise communities at home and abroad, particularly around the Social Enterprise World Forum. I am proud of all we have achieved, working collaboratively and I look forward to doing even more in the years to come.”
Note that while many of the new statistics can be compared to the 2015 report, some data gathering has been improved and direct comparisons are not possible e.g. the number of jobs is now a full time equivalent figure.
The full report was launched on Wednesday 6 September at the CEIS Policy and Practice conference in Glasgow and is available to download from the Social Enterprise Scotland and CEIS websites.
For further information, to arrange an interview or to request a social enterprise feature for print please contact: / 07501 221 581.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Scottish Government Unveils Priorities for 2017 - 2018

Scottish Government - Seizing the opportunities of the low carbon revolution, investing in future economic growth and improving the lives of all our young people will be central to the Scottish Government’s Programme for the coming year.
Outlining the Government’s priorities First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said action would be taken to phase out the need for petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 and fast-track the development of a Scotland wide charging network. The FM also unveiled plans for a Scottish National Investment Bank to deliver long term financial support for innovative industries.
As part of the commitment to closing the poverty related attainment gap, the FM said an Education bill will be the centrepiece of the legislative programme for the year ahead, with major reforms also taking place in health and justice and a review of local democracy.
Other measures within the Programme for Government – which confirmed 16 new pieces of legislation - include:
  • support for key business sectors including low carbon, screen, manufacturing and financial technology
  • extending free personal care to all those under 65 who need it, known as ‘Frank’s Law’
  • rolling out new social security powers as part of a package of measures to tackle inequality, child poverty, end rough sleeping, reduce drug deaths and provide free sanitary protection to students in school, college and university
  • extending the presumption against short prison sentences to 12 months to break the cycle of offending and encourage the greater use of more effective community sentences
  • record investment in the NHS and a pledge to lift the public sector pay cap for NHS and other public sector workers
  • doubling the provision of free childcare
  • Improving public health with action on air quality, increased investment in active travel and measures to restrict the marketing of fatty and sugary food and drink
  • A discussion paper on the use of income tax in Scotland to support public services
The First Minister said:
“We live in a time of unprecedented global challenge and change.
“We face rapid advances in technology; a moral obligation to tackle climate change; an ageing population; the impact of continued austerity and deep seated challenges of poverty and inequality; and an apparent rise in the forces of intolerance and protectionism.
“These challenges are considerable, but in each of them we will find opportunity. It is our job to seize it. This Programme for Government is our plan to do that. Ensuring that we have a highly educated and skilled population, able to adapt to the needs of a rapidly changing economy, is vital to our future prosperity and our wellbeing.
“That is why improving education – and closing the attainment gap – is our number one priority. A good education is important for its own sake. It contributes to the health, happiness and fulfilment of all of us as individuals.
“But it is also vital to building a modern, successful, dynamic economy. To succeed, Scotland must lead change, not trail in its wake.
“We must aspire to be the inventor and the manufacturer of the digital, high tech and low carbon innovations that will shape the future, not just a consumer of them.
“To encourage others to see Scotland as the place to research, design and manufacture their innovations - for us to become a laboratory for the rest of the world in the digital and low carbon technologies we want to champion - we must also become early adopters of them. We must be bold in our ambitions.
“The programme that I have set out today, the policies and the legislation, is fresh, bold and ambitious – and because of that, aspects of it undoubtedly will be controversial.
“That is inevitable – indeed it is necessary. No one has ever built a better country by always taking the easy option. This programme is about equipping Scotland - not just for the next year - but for the next decade and beyond.”
The Programme for Government
New legislation announced for 2017-18 is:
Budget Bill
Climate Change Bill
Crown Estate Bill
Damages Bill
Education Bill
Land and Buildings Transaction Tax Bill
Management of Offenders Bill
Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill
Organ and Tissue Donation Bill
Planning Bill
Prescription Bill
Safe Staffing Bill
Sexual Offences (pardons and disregards) Bill
Transport Bill
Vulnerable Witnesses and Pre-recorded Evidence Bill
Warm Homes Bill