Advisory Group on Economic Recovery


This group is no longer active.


Gaining independent and expert advice when responding to the long-term impacts of coronavirus is essential. That is why we established the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery (AGER) in April 2020.

The remit of the Group was to provide expert advice on Scotland’s economic recovery once the immediate emergency, created by coronavirus, has subsided. Specifically the Group was asked to advise on the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, including:

  • measures to support different sectoral and regional challenges the economy will face in recovery
  • how business practice will change as a result of coronavirus, including opportunities to operate differently and how Government policy can help the transition towards a greener, net-zero and wellbeing economy 

The Group was asked to advise the Scottish Government on actions that will make a difference to businesses across sectors and to regions throughout Scotland. Solutions will be brought forward to enable a swift economic recovery and one that also ensures the Scottish economy will emerge stronger and more resilient. This will be done through proactive engagement with those affected by this crisis, and listening to those who are crucial for the rebuilding of a resilient economy.  

This Group is just one of a number of mechanisms we will use to identify and inform its approach to shaping Scotland’s economic recovery. It is recognised that the Group will need to consider how economic recovery will increase wellbeing, fairness and inclusivity, and makes the most of opportunities towards a greener, net-zero society.  

The Group was led by Benny Higgins who brought a wealth of experience. He has been key during early development of the Scottish National Investment Bank, and is a member of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland. Mechanisms were established to ensure the Group gained valuable insights and considers Government policy priorities, including the transition to net-zero emissions. Through these mechanisms the Group received over 375 individual submissions from organisations and individuals across Scotland setting out their views on Scotland’s economic recovery and which shaped the Advisory Group’s recommendations. The Chair of Scottish Enterprise, Lord Smith, was a key part of this process gathering the views on the business aspects of the economic response.  

The Advisory Group’s Report ‘Towards a Robust Wellbeing Economy for Scotland’ was published on 22 June 2020 and our response to the Report entitled ‘Economic Recovery Implementation Plan was published on  5 August 2020.

Open call for views

The Advisory Group launched an open call for views in May 2020 to ensure that its recommendations were informed by a broad range of perspectives from businesses and communities across Scotland. 

This was an opportunity for you to share your knowledge and insights with the Advisory Group and, in doing so, contribute to shaping recommendations to the Scottish Government on how it can set the course and direction of Scotland’s recovery towards a greener, fairer and more inclusive economy.

This open call received over 200 submissions, all of which were analysed by the Advisory Group team and used to help formulate the recommendations proposed within the report.  The Group will publish all submissions which were approved for publication by the end of July on the  consultation webpage.

The Advisory Group would like to thank all those that contributed to the open call for views, these submissions were essential in gathering the knowledge and insights of businesses, communities and individuals which was key to the formation of the report.


The Advisory Group comprised of the following Members:

  • Benny Higgins (Special Advisor to the First Minister on the Scottish National Investment Bank and Member of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland)
  • Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli (Principal of the University of Glasgow)
  • Professor Anna Vignoles (Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge)
  • Dame Sue Bruce (Electoral Commissioner with responsibility for Scotland and a Non-Executive Director with Scottish and Southern Energy)
  • Professor Dieter Helm (Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford)
  • Professor John Kay (economist whose career has spanned the academic world, business and public affairs)
  • Grahame Smith (outgoing General Secretary of the Scottish Trade Union Congress)
  • Dame Julia Unwin (senior strategic leader with extensive professional experience in the voluntary and public sectorsand corporate social responsibility)


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