Publication - Consultation analysis

Towards a robust, resilient wellbeing economy for Scotland: Report on written submissions to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery

Overview of responses submitted to Advisory Group on Economic Recovery regarding Scottish economic response to Covid-19. This document supports the initial AGER report published earlier by offering a more detailed analysis of the submissions received from the engagement activity of the group.

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76 page PDF

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Towards a robust, resilient wellbeing economy for Scotland: Report on written submissions to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery
4. Social Capital - Equalities

76 page PDF

1.1 MB

4. Social Capital - Equalities

Social capital, can be thought of as the networks, together with shared norms, values and understandings that facilitate co-operation within or among groups. The concept has recently gained traction, but the term has been in use for over a century and the concepts go back further still. Whilst there are many definitions and debates over the various forms it can be divided into three main categories – bonds, bridges and linkages. Bonds are links to people based on a sense of common identity; bridges are somewhat wider (distant friends and associates); and linkages are wider still (across wider society). There is an argument that there is a strong link between social and human capital – simplistically, that social capital is a key mechanism in how individuals are able to "exploit" their own human capital.

Involve non-profit organisations in shaping the wellbeing economy. The charity sector does not feature prominently in economic thinking and analysis though from a wellbeing perspective this is unwarranted. Not-for-profits have a range of useful capacities from devising innovative and targeted programs to delivering services at scale. A very large spike in unemployment could take five to ten years to recover from and in the early years alternative uses of those who are without work are unlikely to result in substantial misallocations of resources.

Develop a response to the rise in mental health issues that will emerge following the multiple burdens of unemployment and social distancing. There is likely to be a greater wave of mental illness and it is known that early interventions tend to be more effective. Recent events are likely for some to have longer term impacts on productivity and so encouraging people to discuss mental health issues early will potentially have both human and financial benefits. Similarly, it is worth noting that there may be more support and interest in programs that address isolation in older age. A US surgeon general has described isolation as a major public health problem and there are similar trends in the UK. In economic terms, communities may be external goods for individuals and it is natural to expect underinvestment by individuals. One the other hand non-profit organisations, and possibly some firms, might be incentivised to develop effective programmes that address these needs.

Connect business support with gender equity goals. Government data for Scotland suggests that female employment is particularly concentrated in the finance, tourism and care sectors which leaves open a considerable opportunity to expand involvement in other sectors of employment. To address the issue, employers and industry sectors need to be welcoming to women and family friendly policies that enable and incentivise men to do more child care should be developed. Indeed policy-makers are likely to consider forms of equity given recent research showing that in the UK and US that minorities, along with the young and least educated are being hardest hit.

Consider policies to reduce the likelihoods of evictions and homelessness. Policies to allow for rent and mortgage holidays have been made in various countries but now are coming to a close. Defaults and evictions, without a replacement policy may rise significantly and it would be useful if some follow-up policy could enable parties to renegotiate repayment terms or possibly even total amounts as happens in the commercial sector. The study of evictions has not yet had a high profile within economics though work by a Harvard sociologist looking at the 2008-9 financial crisis suggests that they may become a serious issue for workers in some sectors.

Extract from Submission from Paul Anand et. al.

4.1 Place based interventions

A large number of submissions discussed issues around place-based interventions and the importance of local action.

BT Group

The importance of place-making in the design and execution of public policy has a key role to play, recognising that a 'one size fits all' approach is unlikely to work, and that the physical built environment and the supporting infrastructure, including digital, needs to be designed around the needs of communities, serving both their economic and societal needs.

Carnegie Trust UK

Transform Local Outcome Improvement Plans (LOIPS) into local wellbeing plans.

Invest in high street diversification

Glasgow City Region

Investment in place approach adopted.

HALO Scotland

Bottom up and social regeneration required where large businesses use their corporate responsibility budgets to create opportunity for all, based in towns.

Economic policy is required within towns and rural communities

City based approach won't work.

Hawick Congregational Community Church

Reducing inequality by supporting smaller charities and allowing churches and faith groups which run a lot of voluntary and community projects (including staffing) to participate because at present they are excluded from many opportunities even though many have businesses/social enterprises


Social and Community Infrastructure – Planning regime, empty second homes, procurement


Need for a recovery stimulated from the grassroots up, as opposed to top down, situated in communities, thus allowing the benefits of:

  • capacity building
  • reduced travel (less pollution)
  • smarter working practices to be embedded

supported by a new social contract based on how we need and value "public" services such as the NHS and 3rd sector.

Inclusion Scotland

Employment impacts higher for disabled people. Learn from experience of disabled people in terms of employment practices – flexible

Just Transition Commission

Inclusion of people/public/communities in decision making process.

Midsteeple Quarter

Empowering communities to take an active role in the stewardship of local assets and green-housing local enterprise, has to be a significant part of Scotland's COVID transition. The current economics of the town centre presents a unique opportunity to gather prominent High Street properties into community ownership and position the community to drive a localised economic model

Poverty Alliance/ Wellbeing Economy Alliance

The community wealth building strategy recently launched in North Ayrshire is an example of how this approach to sustainable economic recovery can be delivered in practice.

Scottish Communities Finance Ltd

The expansion of democratic finance such as Community Bonds are very important in raising local capital to invest locally particularly as start-up finance and risk finance. These need to be better supported and better known to allow them to be utilised by other community actors such as Councils.

Scottish Community Alliance

Invest first in the infrastructure of resilience at the scale of community. This will require a major reassessment of how national priorities are pursued and the re-localisation of many aspects of the foundational economy including our food systems, energy distribution and generation, local transport, social care provision, community health services. Development of the "New Deal for Communities"

Scottish Land Commission

Community led regeneration – many of the sites on the current vacant and derelict land register are very small and have the potential to be brought back into productive (if not necessarily commercial) use quickly and at relatively low cost by local community groups

Land Assembly – if, as seems likely, one of the outcomes from the pandemic is a major reduction in demand for certain types of commercial property then this could create significant opportunities for speculative investment.


Help regeneration through innovation in place-based initiatives.


A place based approach, using the five pillars of Community Wealth Building and the key local anchor institutions could help support local economies in recovery.


Building community and volunteering capacity


Introduce community wealth building programmes based developing zero carbon infrastructure.


Importance of place-based cross-sector collaboration

The Poverty and Inequality Commission

City Region Deals and Growth Deals are reviewed to ensure that investment can respond to the new circumstances and is underpinned by a committed to inclusive growth.

The Stove Network

Create a national task force of community initiators to attract public and private investment into community building through cultural events

Linked to place-based initiatives there was some discussion of community approaches to developing natural capital.

Poverty Alliance / Wellbeing Economy Alliance


Scale up community-based responses to climate change, and particularly to support those effects that are taking place in disadvantaged communities.

The community-led solutions that have already been developed need additional support from the Scottish Government – including via long term funding.

Stressed the importance of community stewardship for natural capital.

4.2 Equalities

A large amount of the material submitted made reference to specific issues around equalities and protected characteristics.

Child Poverty Action Group

Implement measures to increase job security and pay in sectors where women are clustered. Identify characteristics of jobs that provide financial resilience for families

Close the Gap

To address women's inequality in the labour market, SG should implement a gendered response to the anticipated jobs recession, which includes interventions specifically designed to tackle the causes of women's inequality at work: integrating gender-sensitive data analysis and gender mainstreaming approaches into labour market and economic recovery policymaking, Changes to inflexible workplace cultures, Addressing the undervaluation of women's work


Significant analytical material that reinforces strongly the case for gender based interventions

Equality and Human Rights Commission

SG must comply with obligations of the Equalities Act 2010, including through the Public Sector Equality Duty and Fairer Scotland Duty. Robust information on inequalities required. Disaggregated

Glasgow Economic Recovery Group

Job Creation Programme focused on Key Groups – invest in programmes with forward thinking employers who can take on and support young people, females and BAME community members, get into the labour market through meaningful work.


Driving forward policy and legislative change to improve the lives of society's most vulnerable will be key to ensuring a fair and just recovery.

Infrastructure Commission for Scotland

Government must develop appropriate mechanisms to screen each policy being considered as part of a green recovery for equity considerations.

Poverty Alliance/ Wellbeing Economy Alliance

Clear gendered perspective on recovery. Disability Employment Action Plan is urgently reviewed to take account of the new context.

Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities

NPF : redesign of Scottish Core Survey Questions, utilising the 'conditions' question in the 2021 Census, to allow for learning/intellectual disability to be identified, inclusion in all surveys, other indicators developed.

Scottish Funding Council

Impact on different groups of education access

Scottish Human Rights Commission

Review of what is "quality work" and what is valuable. Fair work issues

Disenfranchised voices in decision making - e.g. those of prisoners, Scottish Gypsy Travellers, care leavers, disabled people

Rights based approach

Scottish Islands Federation

More ongoing provision of support for wellbeing and mental health are required for young people, as many of them are struggling through this period, particularly those who are aged 16 – 25 who might be unemployed or living at home or living on their own.

Scottish Women's Convention

Women specific issues: The impact on sectors, such as hospitality and retail, where women tend to dominate , seasonal working during the summer months is the norm, leaving many women business owners and employees at a major financial loss, financial difficulties for many women, particularly young women, in the hospitality sector where high dependent on tipping. 50/50 representation on advisory groups.


The necessity for gender perspectives and women's needs to be integrated into Scotland's economic recovery.


Existing inequalities becoming "supercharged" – COVID + Brexit.

Community collaboration in the face of increasing funding crises – how to maintain local connections and organisations. EQIA analysis of C19 policy. Young are important but so are the elderly. Capture and mitigate impacts across Gender

The Poverty and Inequality Commission

Consideration must be given to what action is needed enable businesses to reopen while addressing and mitigating the potential impacts for women and children – including looking at next phase of Job retention scheme, how childcare provisions can be extended for low-oncome households and increasing payments through the Best Start grants.

The Transport Transition Plan must take account of lower income earners higher dependence on Public transport and areas extra capacity might be needed.

WISE Centre for Economic Justice

Feminist organisations in Scotland and globally have outlined the need for a feminist economic recovery plan, which recognises the gendered realities of the impact of the crisis. BAME - The recommendation for fair economic recovery is that, whilst Scotland cannot amend the Equality Act 2010, Scotland can explore ways to clearly embed the concept of intersectionality into policy, and mainstream the understanding that experiences of disadvantage are complex but identifiable

Women's Enterprise Scotland

Significant material that reinforces strongly the case for gender based interventions

4.3 Third Sector

The importance of the third sector was discussed by a number of respondents. There were a smaller number of specific policy ideas which are detailed in the table below.

Corra Foundation

There should be parity of esteem and a collective leadership, between Government and the Third sector, approach that values everyone's contribution equally and moves beyond outdated hierarchies of power.

The Government should significantly enhance support for employability schemes for key groups at risk of poverty – lone parents, disabled people, young people and deliver this through third sector organisations.

Issue a Scottish Charity Endowment 10-year renewable bond, backed by the Government (actually or by contingent liability) alongside a shift to longer-term, flexible funding agreements for third sector.

Argyll and Bute Council

Ensure the third sector is supported to adapt to the challenges that this situation presents.

Hawick Congregational Community Church

Reducing inequality by supporting smaller charities and allowing churches and faith groups which run a lot of voluntary and community projects (including staffing) to participate because at present they are excluded from many opportunities even though many have businesses/social enterprises


Look at funding streams to provide stability to the sector. As recommended by the Scottish Parliament in November, SG should ' set up a working group, involving key stakeholders, to examine the longer term funding models available to statutory funders


It is proposed that flexible job creation initiatives are developed to respond to the lack of opportunity within local labour markets exploiting the role of the public and third sector to provide quality work experience and an opportunity for the acquisition of necessary skills.

Social Enterprise Scotland

Too many public services in Scotland are organisation-centred to suit institutions; the third sector and social enterprise focus on structural, productive capacity - creating human capital, with local impact and outcomes and the genuine co-production, design and delivery of citizen centred services.

The submission from Samaritans Scotland is highlighted in the box below.

  • Cross governmental approach to suicide prevention through support for employment, welfare, housing, education and services.
  • Increased investment/funding for mental health organisations.
  • work with employers, employees, industry bodies and trade unions and the third sector to ensure support is tailored to the needs of particular sectors and workplaces
  • Innovative models for how the third sector works alongside government and statutory services are made sustainable
  • opportunity for improved knowledge sharing and partnership working between sectors
  • National and local government and services should consider how best to build on and sustain this increased social capital and work with the third sector to make volunteering a valued component within any framework for economic recovery.
  • Community support initiatives with peer support to target those at risk and suffering with mental health issues.
  • Increased provision of mental health care/services for frontline workers effected by the pandemic.

Submission from Samaritans Scotland

4.4 Care Sector including carers

The care sector was a key area mentioned in submissions. The discussion tended to be around improving recognition and remuneration, skills and the idea of a "reset" for the sector.


Care Sector and key workers; The STUC are recommending a £2 per hour pay rise for key workers and a £10 per hour minimum wage.

Dumfries and Galloway LEADER Local Action Group

Invest in skills development for health and social care sector

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Further financial support or paid leave for carers and those with caring responsibilities.

Inclusion Scotland

Inclusion Scotland conducted an online survey of disabled people and carers during April. Over 800 people responded of whom more than half (53%) had experienced problems in accessing food.

Provision of child-care and social care support is essential for a well-functioning modern economy and spending on these services should also be viewed as an investment in infrastructure

Inspired Enterprise Community Trust

Deliver transformation in the care home sector and any private profit incentives should be removed.

Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities

Promote the voice of carers in challenging poverty of aspiration and economic opportunity for their disabled family member and themselves.

Scottish Islands Federation

A re-evaluation of social care and the bodies that deliver it throughout the islands should lead to the creation of independent island based care homes , offering better paid, quality local jobs in this sector, as has been highlighted by many island GPs

Scottish Islands Federation

A re-evaluation of social care and the bodies that deliver it throughout the islands should lead to the creation of independent island based care homes , offering

better paid, quality local jobs in this sector, as has been highlighted by many island GPs.

Scottish National Women's Organisation

Access to high quality childcare and care is paramount to realising a sustainable wellbeing economy and a good society.

Scottish Government measures to increase pay for the lowest paid childcare and social care workers by facilitating the payment of the Living Wage are welcome but piecemeal. The Living Wage is not a panacea for undervaluation as it does not address the crux of the problem, which is that the work is undervalued because it is predominantly women in these jobs.

Scottish Property Federation

Focus on health care sector – long term patient capital with increased reward for employees

Scottish Women's Convention

A wide scale review into the impact of both the private and public social care sector including the undervaluation of the work of employees

Unison Scotland

Care Sector and key workers;

The STUC are recommending a £2 per hour pay rise for key workers and a £10 per hour minimum wage.

University of Edinburgh

Commit to an Integrated Skills Strategy (Q3) : Specifically, there's an opportunity to launch a new Health and Social Care Skills partnership

between the region's universities and colleges as part of the Integrated Regional Employability and

Skills programme.

WISE Centre for Economic Justice

A care-led economic renewal, Investment in Care to raise female employment and revisit remuneration.

WISE Centre for Economic Justice

A care-led economic renewal, Investment in Care to raise female employment and revisit remuneration.

Women's Enterprise Scotland

This includes valuing care as a key sector; valuing care as a growth sector; and including the sector in any future skills strategy. Better social protection for small businesses and self-employed needed

4.5 Social security and Citizens' basic income

There was relatively little mention of social security issues within submissions. References mainly relate to the existing transfer of powers.

Citizens' Advice Scotland

The social security system should act as a safety net for people

Scottish Women's Convention

Ensure that C19 does not delay Early Learning and Childcare provision

and the roll out of Scottish social security benefits,

There was some limited discussion on Universal or Citizens' Basic Income concepts.

Culture Counts

Launch Universal Basic Income trials in the culture sector.

Reform Scotland

Basic Income: Reform Scotland first called for the introduction of Basic Income in 2016 and is one of a group of organisations advocating its benefits

Transition Stirling

Universal basic income, or ensuring there is a minimum income for all, could help reduce inequalities