Equality, opportunity, community: New leadership - A fresh start

This publication sets out the First Minister’s vision for Scotland and the outcomes he and his government aim to achieve by 2026.

Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy

Neil Gray MSP

Dynamic, equitable, sustainable and innovative – Scotland has the skills and resources to create an economy which has these attributes at its core. We must grasp opportunities for economic growth and create an economy which is fair and green. At the heart of a wellbeing economy is economic growth for a purpose, to drive improved living standards, promote wellbeing, reduce poverty, and deliver sustainable high quality public services.

Harnessing and combining the economic power and opportunity of Scotland's rich renewable energy resources, the skills and talents of our people, and the knowledge and expertise of our businesses, large and small, will be critical to achieving this.

As we create a wellbeing economy, we will work closely with the private sector, the public sector – locally, nationally and UK wide – and we will engage directly with communities and partners in the third sector. A key priority is building economic resilience, supporting sectors such as hospitality and tourism that have been adversely impacted by COVID but make significant economic contributions across communities throughout Scotland.

We will set out the case for the further powers we need to deliver our aim of a wellbeing economy, with a focus on areas such as tax, welfare, regulatory levers which are currently reserved and, of course, the spending autonomy to deliver the investment required.

Working with my Cabinet colleagues, we will deliver our National Strategy for Economic Transformation, with a sharp focus on those policies and actions with the greatest potential to grow and change Scotland's economy, expand the tax base to fund excellent public services and make people's lives better. We will transform the delivery of business, enterprise, and innovation support.

This will require a new approach to the Government's relationship with business. At the request of the First Minister, I will engage widely with business leaders to develop and agree a 'New Deal' with the private sector, for how we will work with business to deliver a growing economy that increases wellbeing.

We are committed to a just transition for Scotland's energy sector. Our focus as outlined in the draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan must be meeting our energy security needs, reducing emissions and ensuring a just transition for our oil and gas workforce as North Sea resources decline.

As the Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy, working with my Cabinet colleagues, I commit that by 2026 I will have:

  • Supported the creation of more high quality jobs, stronger businesses, and vibrant communities by working with businesses and other partners to raise the rate of investment in productive assets.
  • Increased the number of people earning at least the real living wage, working in jobs that meet Fair Work principles, and contributing to society through fulfilling and increasingly productive work, narrowing the gender pay gap.
  • Helped more people, including parents, into work, through employability support, skills support and high quality early learning and school age childcare provision, with fewer people unable to work due to ill health or disability.
  • Put Scotland on track to become a leading European start-up nation, in which more businesses are created and grow to scale.
  • Supported the emergence of internationally competitive clusters of excellence – including in green technologies, health & life sciences, digital and advanced manufacturing – driven by investment and innovation.
  • Worked closely with regional and local partners, including Local Government, to drive regional economic empowerment and ensured that our programme of community wealth building is improving resilience and seizing economic opportunities that exist across the country.
  • Supported the sustained growth of international exports while diversifying into new markets; with more, higher-quality, inward investment, and Scotland's attractiveness as a location for inward investment improving.
  • Seized the major opportunities to attract a pipeline of investment across sectors to secure the economic and community benefits from the just transition to net zero, and ensured we continue to tackle fuel poverty, working with our advisory panel, to progress towards our statutory fuel poverty targets.
  • Maximised the economic, supply chain, and employment opportunities of renewable hydrogen projects, and onshore and offshore wind, with up to £1.4 billion of developer supply chain commitments on average across ScotWind.
  • Laid the foundations for delivering 5 gigawatts of hydrogen production by 2030 and the development of a hydrogen supply chain in Scotland.
  • Worked with industry to accelerate decarbonisation and create energy transition opportunities at major industrial sites such as Grangemouth.


Email: pfg@gov.scot

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