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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: duncan.thorp@socialenterprise.scot / 07501 221 581.
 
#SocEntCensus17

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.”
Background
The Programme for Government http://www.gov.scot/programme2017
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

Friday, 1 September 2017

Poverty and Inequality Commissioners Announced

01/09/2017 - Ahead of the first meeting of Scotland’s new Poverty and Inequality Commission,  Chair, Douglas Hamilton today announced the Commissioners will be:

  • David Eiser
  • Hugh Foy
  • Caroline Kennedy
  • Katie Schmuecker
  • Sally Witcher
Two deputy chairs, Kaliani Lyle and Naomi Eisenstadt, have already been appointed and a  further member will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Poverty and Inequality Commission brings together members who have a broad range of expertise from lived experience, community work, policy development and academic research.
Commissioners will have an advocacy role, promoting the importance of particular issues with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders.

Welcoming the appointments Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said:

“I am delighted to see such a strong panel of representatives with a wealth of knowledge and talent. I know they will be able to draw on their wide background of experience to provide real value and influence.

“The Commission will provide independent advice to ministers and give scrutiny on where more action could be taken to reduce poverty and inequality. I look forward to receiving their advice and using it to help develop policy that will tackle poverty and inequality in particular the first child poverty delivery plan next year.”

Mr Hamilton said:

“The Commission has been given a broad remit and the appointments I have made will ensure we can address the issues that need to be considered with a great degree of expertise. Each of the Commissioners also brings a strong personal commitment to playing their part in addressing the unacceptable levels of poverty and inequality in Scotland.

“Over the past few weeks, I have also received offers of assistance from experts from a range of other organisations which I very much welcome. It is clear that there is a strong body of support for the work of the Commission and we will ensure that we take account of a wide spectrum of views when setting out our positions.”

Background:

The First Minister announced the creation of the Poverty and Inequality Commission on July 3, along with the names of the Chair and Deputy Chairs.

In making the appointments, the Chair sought to invite members who have a broad and deep understanding of the issues. As part of the selection process, nominations were invited from the Poverty Truth Commission, Poverty Alliance and Joseph Rowntree Foundation

The Commission will be in place for an initial two year period, in advance of any statutory arrangements that may be put in place via the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill. The Commission’s first task will be to provide independent advice to Ministers on the first child poverty Delivery Plan, due in April 2018.

Biographies of those appointed to the Commission can be viewed here.

Further details of the Commissions intended form and remit were outlined within a position paper published by the Scottish Government in July.


Thursday, 31 August 2017

Additional £45 Million to Support Growth and Innovation Announced

31/08/2017 - The First Minister has set out key actions the Scottish Government will take to boost growth, create jobs and seize the economic opportunities of the future.

Outlining her vision to see Scotland design and produce the products of the future, the First Minister highlighted the twin importance of innovation and inclusion to ensuring Scotland is in the best position to benefit from changes in the economy.

The First Minister made the announcement as she spoke at Spirit AeroSystems Europe Ltd, where she confirmed the Prestwick-based company has won a contract to produce new carbon wing components for the Airbus A320 aircraft.

With the support of £2.1 million of research and development (R&D) funding from Scottish Enterprise, Spirit were able to use advanced manufacturing technology to secure the new contract, which will create more than 100 jobs.

Recognising the importance of businesses replicating the success of companies like Spirit, the First Minister revealed plans for a 70% increase in Scottish Government funding for businesses to conduct new R&D projects, with an additional £45 million to be invested over the next three years.

In the coming weeks, the First Minister also set out key areas where the government will be making further commitments, to help Scotland capitalise on economic opportunities, including:

  • Extra help for the advanced manufacturing, energy and financial technology sectors
  • Plans to support graduate entrepreneurs
  • Support for companies to access finance
  • Plans to make Scotland an early adopter of electric and ultra-low emission vehicles
Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I am determined that Scotland leads on the key technological and social changes. I want Scotland to be the inventor and producer of the innovations that shape the future – not just a consumer of them.

“Spirit AeroSystems is an excellent example of a company providing industry-leading expertise and investing in Scotland. It is significant that research and development grant support from Scottish Enterprise has helped the business win this important new Airbus contract.

“R&D drives innovation, which in turn boosts productivity and economic growth. That is why R&D support from our enterprise agencies will increase almost 70% - from £22 million to £37 million per year. We expect this additional £45 million over three years will unlock a further £270 million R&D 
expenditure by companies

“We need to not only embrace technological innovations, we also must ensure that economic growth is inclusive – so that everyone benefits and has a fair chance to contribute. In the coming weeks I will set out further plans for Scotland’s economy and how we can make further progress towards achieving both of these key aims.”

Scott McLarty, Vice President and General Manager, Spirit UK and Malaysia, added:

“We are pleased that this innovative technology development brings not only improved quality and savings to our customer, but also secures an additional work stream for the UK business.

 “This opportunity leverages our technology, design and manufacturing expertise to better support the needs of our customers and significantly strengthens our ability to secure future work.”
Linda Hanna, Managing Director of Strategy & Sectors at Scottish Enterprise, added:

“I am delighted Spirit has won this key project for their Prestwick site. It's a fantastic example of how Scotland’s expertise and capability in aerospace engineering and manufacturing is successfully competing on the global stage. “Our £2.1 million of R&D support to Spirit demonstrates the work we are doing to drive up levels of innovation and cement Scotland as the top location in the UK for R&D related foreign direct investment.  Today's announcement of an additional £45 million investment in this area by the Scottish Government will be a further boost to Scotland's innovation landscape.”

Background

Spirit AeroSystems received a £2.1 million R&D grant from Scottish Enterprise which, alongside early stage backing from the Aerospace Technology Institute, allowed the company to develop and commercialise new composite technology to enable them to win the Airbus contract. The R&D financial contribution to this project by Spirit, in addition to the SE funding, was £18.3 million.

The contract is to produce the ‘spoiler’ wing component for the Airbus A320 aircraft. A spoiler is a device used to reduce the lift of an aircraft in a controlled way.

Nora Senior Appointed as Chair to the Strategic Board for Enterprise and Skills

31/08/2017 - The First Minister confirmed that Nora Senior, chair of UK regions for global PR firm Weber Shandwick, will chair the Strategic Board for Enterprise and Skills.

The new board will coordinate the work of the public sector to deliver growth in the economy. Nora recently served as president of the British Chambers of Commerce and chair of Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

The First Minister said:

“The new Strategic Board for the Enterprise and Skills Agencies will come into being later this year.  One reason for establishing that board is to ensure better co-ordination of our agencies, securing maximum impact from our spending.

“The quality of the leadership of that board will be crucial.  That is why I am delighted to announce that Nora Senior as the board’s first chair. Nora has had a hugely distinguished career in business and is the ideal person to lead the new strategic board as it works with business to achieve our shared ambitions for growth.”

Nora Senior said:

"There is clear ambition to increase productivity and drive inclusive economic growth in Scotland   To achieve that we need to maximise the considerable investment in enterprise and skills development to ensure we have the right skills, resources and business support in place  

"The Strategic Board creates a central  focus for representatives from business, education ,our economic agencies and civic communities from around Scotland to align behind a common purpose and vision, input to the most effective areas of investment, collaborate and share resources."

Background



Tuesday, 29 August 2017

£2.5 million for Employability Support in Scotland Announced

Scottish Government - Projects that are improving employment support by linking with health and social care, justice and housing services will receive a share of a £2.5 million fund.

Thirteen projects operating across 15 local authorities will receive funding through the Employability Innovation and Integration Fund to help people access employment and training.

Funding will go to a mixture of projects including an approach in Fife which will increase employment outcomes for people suffering mental ill-health and an approach in North Lanarkshire to join up services for homeless residents who have recognised health, social care and housing support needs.

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said:

“People affected by homelessness, who have criminal convictions or suffer from mental ill-health face significant barriers to finding work, and it can be challenging to balance the search for a job with the need to access other important services.

“These 13 new projects will join together employability and skills support with health and social care, housing, and justice services which will improve the quality of localised support available for people across the country.

“The work of these projects ties in with the fairer approach we are taking to deliver our newly devolved employment services, where we have removed the threat of sanctions and are providing support that is more flexible, tailored and responsive to people’s needs.”

Mr Hepburn announced the investment in Dundee. Funding of around £275,000 will go to a Tayside regional project to integrate employability and skills with housing, healthy living and community justice across Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Angus.
John Alexander leader of Dundee City Council said:

"I am delighted that our joint bid to support people across the Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross area has been successful.

"We know that not having a job is only part of the challenge facing some people and this money will allow us to help them to overcome other issues around getting into employment including health, debt and housing.

"Specialist staff will be on hand to give support and advice as part of a 13-week programme, backed by the councils in Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross, while people are also learning new skills in applying for jobs, such as digital applications and improved interview techniques."

Background

The funding is for projects that will operate in Paisley; Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Angus; Fife; Edinburgh; Stirling; Glasgow; North Lanarkshire; Renfrewshire; Inverclyde; Falkirk; South Lanarkshire and Aberdeenshire.

Full details of the projects available.


Thursday, 24 August 2017

Scottish EDGE Launches New £100K Award For Creative Companies

Digit - Scotland’s leading business funding competition has partnered with the Cultural Enterprise Office and Creative Scotland to encourage more creative industries companies to enter.
The Scottish Edge competition has created a new special award for companies working in Scotland’s creation industries.
Rounds 11 and 12 of the competition will include the new Creative EDGE award. This is a special prize of up to £100,000, split as 40% grant and 60% loan. It will be awarded to one company, based upon the decision of the judging panel.
Scottish EDGE has worked with Creative Scotland, the organisation responsible for Scotland’s creative and cultural economy and the Cultural Enterprise Office, which specialises in helping creating businesses start-up and grow, to bring the Creative EDGE award to life.
The competition has already had several notable successful EDGE winners in the creative industries, including the Trtl travel scarf, Findra cycling clothing and Stael’s Design’s Aircushion cooling system for wheelchair users.
Fiona Hislop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said: “An exciting future lies ahead in this fast growing business sector providing opportunities internationally for our wide and diverse creative industries.”
David Shearer, Chairman, Scottish EDGE said: “There is a misconception that innovative, high-growth business have to come from the science or technology sector but we’ve had some amazing success stories with businesses from the creative industries.  This award will allow us to highlight those businesses and encourage applicants from the creative industries to come forward for support and funding from Scottish EDGE.”
Rachael Brown, CEO of the Cultural Enterprise Office said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Scottish EDGE. I believe passionately that Scotland is one of the best places in the world to start and grow a creative business. The creative sector needs to be nourished, developed and supported in order to achieve its full potential and this award demonstrates our commitment to working with creative entrepreneurs.”
Clive Gillman, Director of Creative Industries at Creative Scotland said: “We’re really pleased to be joining the Scottish EDGE partnership to support exciting new creative ideas to be developed into successful businesses. We know that Scotland has a wealth of creative talent across the performing and visual arts, design, crafts and creative technology and that there is a real appetite to turn this creative motivation into new kinds of businesses. The financial and developmental support on offer through Scottish EDGE is a great way to help transform this ambition into successful creative enterprise.”
Round 11 of the Scottish EDGE competition is now open for entries. You can find out more about the competition online, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

FAI Blog: Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland 2016-17

Fraser of Allander Institute - Today sees the publication of the latest Government Expenditure and Revenue (GERS) report.
This blog summarises some of the key headline results.
What is the headline figure?
The GERS report shows a net fiscal balance (including a geographical share of North Sea oil) in Scotland of -£13.3bn or -8.3% of Scottish GDP for 2016-17. This compares with a UK balance of -£46.2bn or -2.4% of UK GDP.
This is an improvement on the figures for 2015-16 where Scotland’s fiscal balance was -9.3%.
2016-17 GERS fiscal balance final
As we outlined in our blog here, given the outlook for the UK public finances, Scotland’s net fiscal position is projected to improve over the next few years. But – based on the latest assessments of the outlook – it will remain higher than that for the UK and settle at between 6% to 7% of Scottish GDP by 2019-20.
How does this compare to previous years?
As the chart highlights, Scotland had a relatively stronger fiscal position than the UK back in 2010-11.
But since then, this relative position has been reversed.
2016-17 Time Series fiscal balance
Today’s relative gap of 6% points (-2.4% vs. -8.3%) is the largest relative gap in the notional Scottish and UK deficit since the GERS figures were published on a consistent basis back to 1998-99.
The key reason for this shift to a weaker relative performance and that’s the fall in oil revenues. Scottish oil revenues were as high as nearly £8bn in 2011-12 but are now just £200m according to today’s publication.
Back in March 2013, the OBR were forecasting oil revenues of £4.8bn for 2016-17. In March 2013, the Scottish Government forecast oil revenues of between £4.2bn and £10.7bn for 2016-17.
For a variety of reasons, oil revenues have turned out to be much lower than most anticipated. Given the importance of such revenues to the GERS figures, this has a major bearing on the Scottish relative position.
Unfortunately, the outlook for oil revenues isn’t likely to change any time soon.
Why does the GERS methodology show Scotland having a larger negative net fiscal balance than the UK as a whole?
There are two reasons.
Firstly, according to the GERS methodology Scottish tax payers raise slightly less per head than the UK average – in the latest year this was equivalent to around £300 per head.
2016-17 GERS Revenues Final
Secondly, spending per head for Scotland is quite a bit higher than for the UK – a difference of around £1,400 per head in 2016-17.
2016-17 GERS Expenditure
What about Scotland’s position compared to other UK nations and English regions?
GERS only covers Scotland and the UK. We know that the UK economy is highly unbalanced. For example, GDP data shows that areas like London and the South East are much wealthier than other parts of England – see here.
So it is interesting to see how Scotland is placed relative to other parts of the UK.
A recent ONS publication estimated the fiscal balances for the 12 Government Office Regions of the UK – that is, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English Regions.
The figures are experimental and still in development. They cover up to the year 2015-16 (so 1 year behind today’s GERS figures). It’s important to note that there will always be some minor methodological and data differences between GERS and this report.
The chart below shows the net fiscal balances per head for 2015-16.
ONS fiscal balance per head
For 2015-16, according to the ONS methodology, Scotland’s net fiscal balance per head was -£2,824. The equivalent UK figure was -£1,108.
Wales, Northern Ireland, the North West and the North East were estimated to have larger negative fiscal balances per head than Scotland. All the other parts of the UK had a relatively stronger position.
The key reason for Scotland’s ranking behind other parts of the UK is not because of lower revenues, but higher levels of spending. Indeed only London, the South East and the East of England are estimated to raise more revenue per head than Scotland.
But as the chart highlights, (alongside London) Scotland has the highest levels of spending per head outside of Northern Ireland.
ONS spending per head
Final thoughts
It is important to remember that GERS takes the current constitutional settlement as given. If the very purpose of independence is to take different choices about the type of economy and society that we live in, then a set of accounts based upon the current constitutional settlement and policy priorities will tell us little about the long-term finances of an independent Scotland.
But GERS does provide a pretty accurate picture of where Scotland is in 2016-17. In doing so, it sets a useful starting point for a discussion about the immediate choices and challenges that need to be addressed by those advocating further constitutional change.
All countries face big fiscal challenges in terms of what will replace declining revenues in the face of rising spending pressures over the next few years.
Changing the constitutional set-up doesn’t alter the fact that these fiscal challenges need to be addressed by all governments in all countries. Today’s figures show that a more autonomous Scotland will be forced to meet such challenges sooner rather than later.

Source: Fraser of Allander Institute blog

Thursday, 17 August 2017

EDAS Events and CPD Courses Autumn 2017 - Book Today to Avoid Disappointment!

EDAS is offering its members and the wider economic development community a diverse series of events and CPD courses this Autumn. 

See below for full information about our upcoming programme, and book your place today to avoid disappointment! 
If you want to receive information about EDAS events direct to your inbox, you can sign up to our newsletter here

Thriving in the Future Global Trade Environment
Friday 8 September 
Edinburgh
9:00 - 12:30

English Devolution, Economic Development and Industrial Strategy: Lessons for Scotland
Tuesday 26 September 2017
Glasgow
14:00 - 16:15

Monitoring and Evaluation: Achieving Better Value for Money and Innovating from Experience
Tuesday 3 October 2017
Edinburgh
9:00 – 16:30

Introduction to Economic Development
Wednesday 25 -Thursday 26 October 2017
Edinburgh
9:00 – 16:30

Update on Policy and Practice in Economic Development
Friday 1 December 2017
9:00 – 16:30
Edinburgh

EDAS / SLAED Conference 2017
Thursday 2 November 
Perth Concert Hall 

The Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2017 - Shortlist Announced


Fraser Kelly, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise Scotland, said:

"We're delighted to announce the shortlist for the awards. We received around fifty applications of a very high standard and we look forward to submitting the shortlist to our independent judging panel. Social enterprises in every corner of Scotland are building a better economy and a fairer society. The Social Enterprise Awards Scotland is a unique opportunity for social enterprises to gain serious recognition for their achievements and dramatically raise their public profile."

To request a social enterprise news feature of any length for print, for further information or to arrange an interview about the awards, please contact: Fraser Kelly on 0131 243 2650 or fraser.kelly@socialenterprisescotland.org.uk.

Awards media partners for 2017 are: Media Co-op, MeToo! magazine, Moving Arts Scotland and The Ferret.

More information: Social Enterprise Awards Scotland

Friday, 11 August 2017

Inclusive and Sustainable Growth: Making our Economy Work for Everyone

Lively debate and a multitude of themes were discussed at this joint CRSN and RSA event, including quality of jobs, diversity, productivity and devolution.
If there was ever an indication of the breadth of the Inclusive Growth agenda, the SBI’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Network (CRSN) event on 15 June said it all. The event was in collaboration with the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and in the wake of the publication of their Inclusive Growth Commission findings.
It was a pleasure to welcome thinkers, disrupters and business people working and leading the way in this space. After hearing about the Commission and findings, delivered by Atif Shafique (leading researcher for the Inclusive Growth Commission, RSA), the panel members took their positions. We were delighted to host Sheila Fazal (Director, PwC), Dr Sarah Ivory (Early Career Fellow – Climate Change and Business Strategy, University of Edinburgh Business School) and Chris Oswald, (Head of Policy and Communications, Equalities and Human Rights Commission).
The lively debate ranged over quality of jobs, low carbon, diversity, city and non-city challenges, productivity, place, automation, infrastructure, land, social structures and devolution. The topics relevant to inclusive growth came thick and fast as chair Ross Martin strove to capture as much comment as possible from a great audience.
Any one of the themes could have absorbed an independent event, but some recurring ideas emerged:
  • Firstly, the evident complexity of the inclusive growth agenda. Neither reducible to soundbites nor the ‘one thing’ which the media demand – this is about system change. So achieving the depth of understanding needed means taking the ideas to wider audiences – not all of whom may agree.
  • Secondly, notwithstanding PwC’s support of the IG Commission’s work, the recognition that business has not, thus far, been sufficiently inspired to engage. Yet if real progress is to be made, this is a prerequisite. “Where is the discussion on jobs and internationalisation?”, queried Liz McAreavey, CEO of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.
  • Thirdly, differing interpretations and definitions of growth. Not just of what ‘growth’ could or should mean but long-held assumptions about competition, economic success and measuring progress; all came under the spotlight.
IG is nothing if not going back to fundamentals of the purpose of an economy.
Closing the event, the Chair reflected that whatever else, there seemed to be a powerful conviction that there has to be a ‘better way’. Considering the energy in the room, the conversation seems set to continue, with a role in particular for business to help articulate tangible actions. The vibrant conversation continued over a drinks reception which was enjoyed by all.

Find out more about the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Network Visit the CRSN page »

Learn more about the RSA
Visit the RSA’s website »