Study identifies areas Scottish economy should improve

Scotland should address various economic areas to compete in the global economy, research has found.

More than 100 business leaders, industry bodies and public sector representatives contributed to the study about developing the economy, carried out by the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) at the University of Strathclyde.

The Institute identified trends, opportunities and risks that Scotland needs to respond to in order to build a competitive economy by 2050.

Recommendations seek to address low productivity, the skills gap, exports, and infrastructure.

It also said more needs to be done to address 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 to develop physical and digital infrastructure “that is fit for the future”, longer-term policy making by politicians at both a Scottish and UK level and “a more joined-up, collaborative approach to entering new markets”.

It also suggests greater collaboration between academia and industry “to commercialise innovation”.

Professor Graeme Roy, Fraser of Allander Institute director, 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 who commissioned the study, said: “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.”

The law firm 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.

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