Business leaders outline blueprint for Scotland’s future economic success

Modern building
By Shepherd and Wedderburn

29 March 2019

Scotland must address eight core issues in order to seize export opportunities and build an economy fit for the future, according to a landmark study by the Fraser of Allander Institute.

The Scotland in 2050: Realising Our Global Potential report, commissioned by the law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn to coincide with its 250th anniversary, canvassed the views of more than 100 business leaders, industry bodies and representatives of public and third sector organisations.

The Institute coupled this with new, independent economic analysis to identify the priority measures that policymakers will need to consider if Scotland is to continue to compete in a rapidly evolving global economy.

These seek to address, amongst other things, historic weak productivity, the skills gap, lack of strategic export focus, outdated infrastructure, political short-termism and the potential for growing pressure on public services as a result of the revised budget arrangement agreed by the Scottish and UK governments.

The report concludes that Scotland needs:

  • infrastructure, both physical and digital, that is fit for the future.
  • an economy that harnesses and trades on knowledge.
  • an ecosystem that nurtures and retains businesses of scale.
  • an appropriately skilled workforce led by effective management/leadership teams.
  • greater collaboration between academia and industry to commercialise innovation.
  • a national strategy focusing resource and investment on activities with the greatest growth potential.
  • a more joined-up, collaborative approach to entering new markets.
  • policy (at local, national and UK level) that is longer term in its objectives.

Professor Graeme Roy, Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “Our economic analysis and engagement with business has shown Scotland has key strengths that should give the country optimism for the future.

“But in many areas there is scope for improvement: our export base is too narrow and we lag behind many of our competitors. If Scotland is to take advantage of the changing nature of the global economy in the coming decades, it will need to boost its level of internationalisation.”

Paul Hally, Chairman of Shepherd and Wedderburn, said: “We have been delighted to sponsor this landmark research project, which has given leading figures in the private, public and third sectors the opportunity to make their voices heard in an important conversation about the future of the Scottish economy.

“The Scotland in 2050 report is underpinned by this conversation, and the broad consensus that emerged around the key measures that policymakers will need to consider to ensure we maximise our economic potential.

“Despite the challenges it identifies, this research shows that there is much to be optimistic about. Scotland has a proud tradition of innovation and entrepreneurialism which, if properly harnessed, will see us seize the considerable opportunities ahead.”

Shepherd and Wedderburn will be hosting a series of political engagement events in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen in May to discuss the findings in the Fraser of Allander Institute's final report.

These ‘Question Time’-style events will be chaired by Magnus Linklater CBE, former editor of The Times Scotland, and will give attendees the opportunity to discuss the report’s findings with its author, Professor Graeme Roy, business leaders, academics and representatives of the UK and Scottish governments.

The events will take place on the following dates:

  • Glasgow, Friday 10 May 2019 at the Principal Grand Central Hotel, from 8am -10.30am
  • Aberdeen, Friday 17 May 2019 at The Chester Hotel, from 8am -10.30am
  • Edinburgh, Friday 31 May 2019 at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, from 8am -10.30am

Places are strictly limited, so early booking is highly recommended. Please indicate which event you would like to attend in your response.

ICAS Members can request a place at these invitation-only panel sessions.

Email the Shepherd and Wedderburn team

This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.

Previous Page