Economic recovery should be national endeavour

First Minister urges businesses to support new ways of working.

The First Minister will pledge the Scottish Government’s support to work in partnership with industry for a more resilient economy following the pandemic, to help create a wealthier, fairer and greener Scotland.

In the opening address at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) Annual Forum in Edinburgh, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to urge businesses to adapt to new ways of working that will help achieve net zero and improve overall wellbeing.

During the conference, the First Minister will confirm the expansion of Scotland’s network of Productivity Clubs. As one of the actions from the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, grant funding of up to £200,000 will introduce a further club in the Tayside region. With over 1,800 members across Scotland, Productivity Clubs offer peer support to improve and grow enterprises, running specialist events based around key themes such as digital transition, innovation and fair work.

The First Minister is expected to say:

“We are recovering from the worst pandemic in more than a century, and the huge economic and social challenges it has brought.

“We face the highest inflation in more than a generation, and the growing cost of doing business is being made far worse by Brexit, which has removed us from a single market seven times the size of the UK.

“And of course all businesses, like all governments, need to adapt their working methods as we seek to reduce our climate change emissions, and become a net zero economy that truly serves our collective wellbeing for current and future generations.

“Those challenges can sound daunting. But we also need to keep in mind that Scotland has huge opportunities and assets to help transform our economy. Inward investment in Scotland increased by 14% in 2021 – far above the UK’s increase of 2 percent. There was a rise of more than 70% in the number of inward investments in the digital sector.

“That highlights the strengths of Scotland’s skills and infrastructure, but it also reflects that businesses are increasingly taking investment decisions based on issues such as a country’s approach to sustainability, wellbeing, and climate change.

“The National Strategy for Economic Transformation – which we published in March – aims to capitalise on these strengths. And it makes it clear that recovery has to be a truly national endeavour. That won’t be achieved by business alone, by government alone, or by the third sector alone – we will all need to work together to create a wealthier, fairer and more sustainable nation.”


The SCDI Annual Forum will bring together up to 300 delegates consisting of SCDI members and senior leaders from the Scottish and UK governments, business, third sector and academia to discuss Scotland’s future.

Expanding Productivity Clubs is an action of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), which seeks to stimulate business growth by investing in innovation, expanding opportunities and supporting businesses to benefit from digitalisation.

Productivity Clubs were launched in 2019 in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and in 2020 in North East Scotland, the Highlands & Islands, and the South of Scotland. A new Club in the Tayside region will launch later this year.


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