Chapter 4: An Economy that works for all of Scotland’s People and Places
To ensure a green, sustainable and prosperous recovery, within the next 12 months we will:
Provide £200 million funding to build the Scottish National Investment Bank's portfolio.
Provide up to £20 million through the National Transition Training Fund, creating up to 20,000 additional training opportunities.
Invest up to £70 million in our Young Person's Guarantee which, along with £60 million in 2020‑21, will provide at least 24,000 new and enhanced skills and training opportunities for young people this year.
Provide up to £20 million of bespoke support for those facing long‑term unemployment, creating wholly subsidised, fair work job opportunities.
- Consult on the next steps to becoming a Fair Work Nation by 2025, and make it a requirement on public sector grants to pay at least the real Living Wage to employees.
- Introduce a low carbon skills guarantee for workers in sectors like oil and gas – providing advice and support to transfer their skills to low carbon sectors.
- Ensure small businesses can access specialist digital support, backed by £25 million of investment.
- Launch a £20 million Rural Entrepreneur Fund, providing grants of up to £10,000 to support the creation of new businesses, or the relocation of existing businesses.
- Consult on a future agriculture bill, setting out our vision for a new, post‑Common Agricultural Policy, support payment system in 2025‑26.
The Scottish Government owes a great debt of gratitude to everybody who put the needs of the country ahead of their own financial or business interests over the course of the pandemic. While livelihoods have been on the line for over a year, the sacrifices people and businesses made saved lives – however, the essential protective measures did not come without a cost.
Since March 2020 we committed more than £1.7 billion to building a stronger, more resilient and sustainable economy – over and above £3.7 billion in direct business support. That has been essential to retaining capacity and jobs in the economy – driving forward our national mission to support good, green and new jobs – strengthened by the ability of organisations to switch to home and digital working, where that was possible. While the coronavirus will remain with us for some time, we have been able to take gradual steps to reopen our economy and lives. But a return to just how things were before is not enough in the face of the crisis that has unfolded and the toll it has taken.
Our vision is for a society that thrives economically, socially, and environmentally, with prosperity for all of Scotland's people and places. We will work to secure a green economic recovery that puts wellbeing and fairness at its heart. Across this programme, we are investing in restoring our environment and the green technologies and industries of the future which will in turn help create new, good and green jobs – grounded in fair work and securing a just transition. We will put communities at the heart of that recovery – supporting diverse and inclusive local economies, finance, land, and ownership models.
A wellbeing economy
The pandemic has emphasised the interconnected nature of social wellbeing, economic prosperity, and the environment. We will use recovery as an opportunity to actively shape the future of Scotland's economy, setting us on a pathway to a just transition and a wellbeing economy: one that is environmentally sustainable, enables businesses to thrive and innovate, and tackles the social inequalities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
We will look beyond just traditional measures of growth, taking a broader view of what it means to be a successful economy, society and country and establish a set measures to support our transition to a wellbeing economy.
To show global leadership and monitor how we are performing, we will set up a group of external advisors to provide international and expert guidance on developing a wellbeing economy, and appoint a Wellbeing Economy Ambassador to promote this work. We will develop a set of wellbeing indicators for Scotland with a dashboard to monitor and track economic success.
To help achieve this new vision, the Scottish Government has – within its first 100 days – appointed a range of leading experts to a new advisory group which will consider the development of a 10‑year Economic Transformation Strategy, to be published later this year and supported by the development of Just Transition Plans. This will be an ambitious plan to transform the economy, putting us on the path to meeting our 2030 climate targets, helping restore the natural environment, stimulate innovation, create jobs, improve wellbeing for all, and embed fair work standards across all sectors of the economy. It will take a data and evidence‑based approach and learn from international best practice to identify where we should focus our collective efforts. It will ensure that our enterprise organisations work together to deliver support that works for businesses and enables the transformational change we want to see in the next decade. Alongside the strategy, we will launch a National Challenge Competition on Economic Transformation, backed by £50 million. This will provide funding to projects with the greatest potential to transform Scotland's economy.
To support this national work, we will work with regional partners to ensure that every region has a Regional Economic Partnership (REP). Building on the foundations laid by the City Region and Growth Deals programme, these will encourage strategic collaboration between key economic actors within regions, to make long‑term, place based decisions to enable sustainable, inclusive prosperity. We will support the development of regional economic strategies and recovery plans, and help REPs to take ownership of investment prospectuses, attracting new public and private sector investment. We will lead a review of Regional Policy in Scotland which will report in April 2022.
We will also extend and refresh the way we work in partnership with businesses – large and small, in all parts of Scotland – to develop and deliver policies that underpin economic transformation, based on shared principles and ambitions. We will work particularly closely with small businesses and their representatives, to develop measures which support recovery.
Delivering a fair, just and sustainable recovery for people
In securing our ambitions for a fair and green recovery, we are faced with the immediate challenges confronting the labour market – and the prospect of further unemployment and hardship as the UK Government removes the furlough scheme – but also an opportunity to equip people to take on the jobs of the future. We will invest an additional £500 million across this Parliament – with future plans set through future budgets – to support the new, good and green jobs of the future, including upskilling and reskilling people to access those. We will support those most impacted by the pandemic, and the existing inequalities it has exacerbated, into fair work – for young people, women and lone parents, disabled people, those from Minority Ethnic communities, and lower income households.
As part of this overall funding commitment, over the next five years, we will invest £200 million specifically in adult upskilling and retraining opportunities. This includes up to £20 million this year through the National Transition Training Fund (NTTF), supporting key sectors to recover from the pandemic and enabling future skills transitions. NTTF is investing in online learning and college and university provision for those at risk of redundancy or with poor employment outcomes to upskill or retrain, supporting businesses to create new employment and training opportunities, and helping workers to take those up. Since being established, it has helped over 6,000 people, and this next phase has the potential to provide up to 20,000 further opportunities.
We are also delivering a package of interventions in the North East, tailored to specific skills and labour market demands. The North East Economic Recovery and Skills Fund will provide opportunities for around 3,000 individuals this year, through entrepreneurship and business start‑up, training, and employability projects in sectors with existing vacancies or growth opportunities, and support the transition from oil and gas to renewables.
Further support for adult upskilling and reskilling is being provided through the Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) and Individual Training Accounts (ITAs). This year we will evaluate the performance of our investment against outcomes, assessing how we can simplify and strengthen our lifelong learning offer and ensure every adult who needs access to funding to support skills development throughout their lives has it.
Our wider investment and support for businesses will in turn drive demand for good green jobs, and we will align our skills policy to support reskilling and retraining to access those now and in the future, including through the Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan published last December.
To ensure that people have the right skills to take advantage of the jobs which can be created through a just transition and green recovery, we established a Green Jobs Workforce Academy in the government's first 100 days. This has provided a single solution for those looking to transition into green jobs, showcasing available green jobs, the skills needed to transition to them, and linking people to the required training and funding sources to enable that. As part of implementing the recommendations of the Just Transition Commission we will deliver a skills guarantee for those in carbon‑intensive industries as part of the Green Jobs Workforce Academy. This will provide advice or a skills assessment in the first instance, followed by the provision of funding for retraining for those with little or no skills transferability to low‑carbon sectors – helping workers in sectors like oil and gas to transfer their skills to low carbon sectors and ensuring no‑one is left behind through the transition to net zero.
Our Green Jobs Fund, providing £100 million capital over the next five years, will help businesses create green employment through investment, with opportunities for individuals to retrain and upskill in new and high‑growth areas. The first tranche of awards, will be made later this month, maintaining and creating jobs by providing 1‑2‑1 financial support to jobs, businesses and organisations providing services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. This will be followed by further investment later this year, to help existing net zero supply chains grow, while encouraging major emerging net zero suppliers to set up in Scotland.
While the pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, the impacts have been felt acutely by young people, who have shouldered an additional burden, seen opportunities taken from them, and are at greatest risk of suffering from the long‑term scarring effects of the economic crisis. In response to the immediate impacts of the crisis, we created the Young Person's Guarantee – giving every young person who wants it the opportunity of a job, place in education or training, or formal volunteering.
This year, we are providing up to £70 million for the Young Person's Guarantee. In addition to £60 million provided in 2020‑21, this combined investment will support at least 24,000 new and enhanced opportunities for young people. This includes 11,000 opportunities for young people through local partnerships; 9,000 additional places in colleges, including short, industry‑focused and fast track courses; 2,600 opportunities for vulnerable and care experienced young people; connecting over 1,000 disabled young people to fair work, education and activities designed to ensure a successful transition into adult life and work; up to 500 graduate level placements to support progression into sustainable, graduate level employment; and 110 formal volunteering opportunities providing young people with confidence and experience of the working environment.
We have also delivered our 100 days commitment to complete the roll out of Developing the Young Workforce coordinators across all mainstream secondary schools. To measure how well we are meeting the Young Person's Guarantee we have published a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), including a specific equality KPI, and are developing a broader evaluation plan.
As we look ahead, we will work with partners to deliver transformative interventions for young people, taking forward the actions set out in the Young Person's Guarantee Activity Plan and Equality Action Plan. That includes a commitment to support new green and nature based skills activity, particularly on the islands, and maximising apprenticeship starts this year, seeking to work back up to 30,000 starts in future years.
In delivering a fair and inclusive recovery, the needs of the most disadvantaged in our communities will intensify, and people who have not traditionally required support may find themselves out of work. As identified in our Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, we know that certain groups are at greatest risk of poverty: women, young people, Minority Ethnic groups, lone parents, disabled people and low earners. While the full impact of the crisis will become clearer when the UK Government winds down the Job Retention Scheme, these groups are the most likely to face disproportionately negative employment outcomes. To secure a truly fair recovery, we will prioritise focused activity to drive up good, secure and well‑paid employment opportunities for those at the greatest risk of poverty.
This year, we are providing over £8.65 million for the Parental Employability Support Fund (PESF), and have committed to invest at least a further £15 million across 2022‑24. This helps low income families identified as being most at risk of experiencing poverty to increase their earnings, by gaining and progressing in fair work, providing intensive, person‑centred key worker employability support. As part of this, we are taking forward work now to explore the creation of both a bespoke Lone Parent offer, and a "guarantee approach" for parents to access employability services that provide holistic support. We are engaging on these with stakeholders and local authorities, as well as considering it within wider work around universal basic services and wraparound support.
PESF also links individuals with Fair Start Scotland, which we have extended for a further two years, to 2023. This year, we are providing £27 million for Fair Start Scotland, providing tailored person‑centred support for unemployed disabled people and those with health conditions or other barriers to moving into fair and sustained work. This complements our ongoing No One Left Behind activity to deliver a person‑centred, joined up employability system in Scotland in partnership with local government, private and third sector partners. This approach also includes a greater focus on 'wraparound' support, ensuring that links are created between employment and the wider support families may need, including housing, childcare, and transport.
We have also committed £20 million to develop the No One Left Behind approach and provide an offer of support to those facing long‑term unemployment in 2021‑22. This will be delivered through No One Left Behind partnerships, creating wholly subsidised, fair work job opportunities in sectors where there are skills shortages, such as Health and Social Care, and new and emerging sectors, including green jobs.
Alongside this, we will prioritise action to address the barriers in the labour market that prevent people from all communities from realising their potential and accessing employment. We will work to reduce the employment gap between disabled people and the rest of the working age population by at least half by 2038. We will take forward a range of initiatives, including establishing a scheme to remove the barriers many disabled people face in attaining leadership positions, building on the success of the Minority Ethnic Leadership and Development Programme. And we will develop an ethnicity pay gap strategy by the spring of 2022 as part of our continuing work to improve labour market outcomes for Minority Ethnic workers in Scotland.
Recognising the continued barriers that women face, particularly those who have taken career breaks – especially where those are related to pregnancy and caring – we will tackle the 'motherhood penalty', a key driver of the gender pay gap. We will support 2,000 women transition back to work following a career gap, backed by up to £2 million this year. We will also establish a Women's Business Centre, backed by £50 million across this Parliament, supporting the provision of accessible, relevant advice and support to women‑led businesses. As part of this funding, we will support 100 women per year to develop pioneering business ideas.
We will also secure improved opportunities for veterans, ensuring that those who have risked their lives in the service of the nation can access good jobs once their time in the military is over. We will launch a public awareness campaign next year, targeting employers and the business community to help increase employment opportunities for veterans. We will lead by example, creating more job opportunities within the Scottish Government set aside specifically for veterans. We'll also increase the Scottish Veterans Fund to £500,000 a year, providing financial backing for more projects that support veterans and their families, with a focus on support for early service leavers.
To ensure all these new opportunities are good opportunities, the Scottish Government will continue to use the full powers at our disposal to drive fair work practices across the labour market: applying Fair Work First criteria to public sector funding and contracts to leverage employers' commitment to Fair Work principles. Within our first 100 days, we have made opposition to "fire and rehire" practice, and support for flexible and family friendly working practice, criteria in our Fair Work First Programme, and given our support to a National Living Hours Accreditation Scheme. Over the coming months, we will consult on our ambition to be a fair work nation by 2025 – including a requirement for fair work conditions to be applied to the scoring criteria for all public sector grants, where it is proportionate and relevant to do so. An agreed vision, action plan and milestones for delivery and monitoring will be produced by early 2022. We will also introduce a requirement on organisations in receipt of public sector grants to pay at least the real Living Wage to all employees and provide appropriate channels for effective workers' voice, such as trade union recognition, subject to limits on devolved competence.
Many employers do provide Fair Work for their workers, but too many people have experienced the pressures, difficulties, and fears of unfair working practices, particularly at a time of such significant upheaval and uncertainty. But we have also seen the possibilities and positives of adopting alternative working practices and getting a better balance between work and personal lives. We will establish a £10m pilot fund to support companies explore the benefits of a 4‑day working week. We will also develop plans for a Centre for Workplace Transformation, to put Scotland at the forefront of developing progressive workplaces, and establish a short‑life Business Purpose Commission for Scotland to promote more purposeful businesses and better corporate governance.
While we have made good progress in delivering our ambitions for fair and inclusive work, there is more that can be done – but many of the most significant levers rest with the UK Government. EU Exit adds further instability, and the risk of a race to the bottom and erosion of standards. We will hold a summit with political parties and stakeholders to identify the steps needed to build the case for the devolution of employment powers, and will seek the support of the Scottish Parliament to press the UK Government to devolve them. In advance of devolution, we will press the UK Government to apply appropriate scoring conditions to public sector grants in Scotland under reserved powers
Investing in Scotland's economy to deliver a just transition
A just transition to net zero requires a robust, diversified economy where businesses can make investments with confidence – domestically and globally – and will ensure Scotland is a world‑leader, showcasing our strengths including in green and renewable technologies. That isn't just a moral obligation in meeting our ambitious targets to end Scotland's contribution to climate change, it is an economic opportunity to be grasped: benefiting businesses by leveraging public and private sector finance to create new markets and business opportunities, and benefiting people by protecting existing jobs, and creating new skills, training and employment opportunities.
To deliver on that, we will take forward a transformational programme of infrastructure investment, providing businesses with the confidence they need to play their part in a just transition. We will finance our recovery with a robust pipeline of projects and programmes to stimulate supply chains and a green recovery, and create jobs, through our Infrastructure Investment Plan. This Plan sets out over £26 billion of key investments and will deliver our National Infrastructure Mission to increase annual investment in infrastructure by £1.6 billion by 2025‑26 – when compared to 2019‑20 – a total investment value of over £33 billion in the next five years.
This includes £2 billion of capital funding dedicated to delivering new low carbon infrastructure as part of a just transition to net zero. We will take action to maximise the impact of public funding to boost an inclusive and green economic recovery, ensuring that infrastructure investment is a priority of the Supply Chains Development Programme and embedding Fair Work First, climate and local economic considerations in more contracts and grants.
To complement the current infrastructure planning and delivery landscape, and put the public good at the heart of management and development of public assets, we will start work to create a National Infrastructure Company. We will develop a programme of work to identify areas in which this would bring the most value to Scotland in delivering our infrastructure and a wider set of performance outcomes. Following consideration of this, we will decide on the most appropriate format and set of functions for the National Infrastructure Company.
This investment is further enhanced by creation of the Scottish National Investment Bank – the UK's first mission‑led development investment bank, and with the potential to transform Scotland's economy. We are committed to providing it with £1 billion capital funding across this Parliament, with £200 million in 2021‑22, which will all go towards building its portfolio. Although the Bank is still in its first full year of operation, its early investments have shown how it will deliver against its missions: supporting Scotland's transition to net zero; building communities and promoting equality; and harnessing innovation.
Our second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) – a Scotland‑wide review of the strategic transport network across all transport modes – will set the direction of transport investment in Scotland for the next 20 years. STPR2 final draft reports are planned to be published before the end of 2021, providing stakeholders and the public with the opportunity to comment.
While these efforts will help deliver our net zero and just transition ambitions, we know that government and the public sector cannot achieve that alone. It is estimated that globally at least $6 trillion of new or reallocated infrastructure investment a year is needed up to 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement, and wider Sustainable Development Goals. While this is a major challenge, it also presents significant economic opportunity, as demand for green finance is expected to grow substantially. Building on our position as an established global financial centre, a new industry‑led taskforce will draw up Scotland's action plan to capitalise on the opportunities of financing the global shift to net zero, setting out the actions we will take to promote and establish Scotland as a world‑leading centre for green and ethical finance, and leverage the potential of private finance.
We will introduce a Moveable Transactions Bill, making various types of commercial transactions more efficient, less expensive and less complicated than at present, leading to easier access to finance for businesses in Scotland, supporting our competitiveness, and aiding our economic recovery.
Scotland's recently launched Global Capital Investment Plan provides a vision and framework for attracting and retaining capital investment flows into priority areas of our economy, aligned to our commitment to a just transition to net zero and in support of a green recovery. We will continue to work with partners to facilitate an increase in the amount of private capital in the economy by developing and promoting available investment opportunities to global capital markets. This includes adding to our Green Investment Portfolio which will bring investment proposals worth £3 billion to the market by 2022, covering sectors from environmentally sustainable commercial real estate to low emission transportation and green energy. As part of implementing the Global Capital Investment Plan, we will take forward a Green Market Solutions Programme, focused on applying our suite of available incentives to help stimulate private sector investment into major projects and new technologies, and establishing market‑creating financial and pricing solutions to overcome barriers to private investment. The programme aims to encourage first mover investors in key areas like natural capital, heating and hydrogen.
We will take forward our Green Growth Accelerator – an outcome based funding model incentivising local to deliver a set of agreed economic, environmental and social outcomes, delivered through investment in low carbon infrastructure. We will announce the first "pathfinder projects" ahead of COP26, as the first step to unlocking up to £200 million of public sector investment to drive our transition to net zero. And, we will explore the creation of a new green industrial catalyst fund that will support investment and resillience in the green industrial sector.
As part of our drive to secure wider investment in a green recovery, the Scottish Government remains committed to establishing green ports in Scotland – helping us to create fair work opportunities and deliver a just transition to net‑zero. We have sought to work with the UK Government in partnership to develop green ports, a model tailored for the Scottish context. We will continue work to develop a joint model, but if that is not possible then we will seek to implement all devolved elements we can to ensure green ports can deliver on their potential.
Enhancing Scotland's economy and international competitiveness
Our approach to international trade and investment is as much about how we trade as it is about what we trade. Implementing our Vision for Trade will ensure our decisions related to trade are aligned with our values and that trade supports the economic recovery. This year we will publish our first annual implementation report.
We will continue to drive forward our ambition set out in A Trading Nation to increase international exports to 25% of GDP by 2030 – increasing GDP by approximately £3.5 billion and helping support 17,500 jobs. In 2021‑22 we will publish Sector Export Plans for the Scottish Technology, Renewables and Life Sciences sectors, setting bold ambitions for long term growth of exports. We will undertake a detailed study of the opportunities for Scottish businesses in the US market, highlight Scotland's key strengths at Dubai Expo, continue to expand our network of Trade Envoys to ten over the course of the year, and grow our network of GlobalScots to reach 1500 members by 2023.
Aligned to our Vision for Trade, our Inward Investment Plan is focused on attracting sustainable values‑led investment that matches our ambitions for Scotland: helping achieve a Net Zero, Fair Work, and Wellbeing Economy. It targets 100,000 jobs from inward investment over the next decade, increasing Scottish GDP by £4.2 billion, and boosting Scottish exports by £2.1 billion. This year we will develop a programme of strategic Ministerial engagement with our leading inward investors to promote and encourage further investment in Scotland, as well as strengthening our existing relationships. With Scottish Development International and regional partners we will develop Regional Inward Investment Propositions in support of our national offer to inward investors, demonstrating Scotland's strengths and ensuring the benefits of inward investment are felt across the whole of the country.
A digitally inclusive, connected Scotland
Over the past 18 months, the coronavirus crisis has changed our way of life fundamentally. Many of us have worked successfully from home and we have now come to rely on home shopping, online education and new and creative ways of using digital technology to keep in touch with family and friends. But it has also demonstrated the problems that come from digital exclusion. It has reminded us all that whilst technology can transform lives for the better, it is essential we ensure no one is left behind. We will ensure everyone – regardless of where they live – has an acceptable level of connectivity so they can be a part of the digital world. That is particularly acute in our rural communities, and our Reaching 100% (R100) contracts are continuing to deliver broadband across Scotland, backed by over £579 million in investment, and are expected to be complete in the central and south of Scotland areas by 2023‑24 and 2024‑25 respectively, and in the north by 2026‑27.
As part of R100, 16 subsea fibre cables to 15 of Scotland's islands will begin to be laid in spring 2022, and completed by the end of 2022 – bringing superfast broadband to some of our most remote communities. We are working closely with the UK Government to ensure that Scotland receives its fair share of 'Project Gigabit' funding and to ensure early investment in Scotland's islands, with a commitment to support the creation of gigabit islands which will enable 5G services and connectivity from mobile providers.
We remain committed to providing support to ensure that everyone can access superfast broadband services by the end of 2021 – delivered through the R100 contracts, R100 Scottish Broadband Voucher Scheme and increased commercial coverage. Properties that are not expected to receive a connection through either the R100 contracts or commercial investment will be eligible for a voucher offering a subsidy worth up to £5,000 per property. Properties where superfast broadband roll‑out is planned, but unlikely to be delivered until after 31 December 2021, are eligible for an interim voucher, offering up to £400 to deliver a connection. And those in the most difficult‑to‑reach locations can receive an additional subsidy of £250.
We believe digital connectivity is an essential utility and will ensure Scotland's interests are represented in UK Government proposals to utilise building regulations from 2022 to require developers to deploy and optimise digital connectivity in all new housing developments. To create the conditions to stimulate further commercial investment in full fibre, we will also extend the current 10‑year 100% non‑domestic rates relief on new fibre in Scotland by a further five years.
Complementing our programme of broadband roll out, we are working to bring 4G connectivity to some of Scotland's longest standing mobile notspots through our Scottish 4G Infill programme, ensuring remote, rural and island communities can enjoy it's benefits. We expect that up to 35 masts will have been activated for 4G by September 2022, and when the programme ends in March 2023, up to 55 remote, rural and island areas will have 4G infrastructure for the first time.
While these efforts will ensure that more households have the potential to get online, we know that too many people still do not have the means to do so. We are taking ambitious action to tackle the digital divide through our Connecting Scotland programme. By the end of this Parliament, we will ensure Connecting Scotland has supported up to 300,000 households get online, backed by £200 million of investment, through the provision of devices, data and digital skills. In our first 100 days we have reached the milestone of supporting 40,000 households since the programme began, and are on our way to helping 60,000 households get online by the end of this year. During autumn 2021 we will continue delivery to people seeking employability support and those isolated by the pandemic. We will also work to develop the future of the programme, with lone parents as a key target group.
A world leading digital economy
We have seen the immense power of digital technologies in the response of businesses to the pandemic – as they adapted and innovated at unprecedented pace and scale. Whilst great progress has been made, there remains significant potential for greater adoption of digital technologies which would improve competitiveness, productivity and resilience for businesses and drive forward Scotland's economic recovery and emissions reduction. Scotland has the potential to be a world‑leading tech nation, and we have the blueprint to achieve it through Mark Logan's review of the Scottish tech ecosystem.
Over the next year we will action key recommendations from the review, backed by an initial £7 million funding for the programme. This includes an initial £4 million this year – increasing to £30 million – to support the next generation of Scottish start‑ups through a national network of 'Tech Scalers'. These will open by 2022, providing world‑class training and mentoring for tech entrepreneurs, and opportunities to network and share ideas. As part of their work, all training and education offered will be accessible virtually, ensuring access for businesses in rural areas.
Scotland has a number of strengths within the tech sector and we will work with our start‑ups and scale‑ups to develop and provide opportunities for vibrant ecosystems of companies, research, and talent as we build Scotland's international position within these global markets.
To increase Scotland's capability in producing a steady stream of profitable, scaled tech businesses, elevating our education and skills system is fundamental. This year we will launch the Scottish Teachers Advancing Computing Science (STACS), an organisation run for and by Computing Science teachers to share best practice in Computing Science across all schools. We're also convening the most senior leaders from our education and skills agencies to bring forward change in Computing Science in schools. To provide greater support for innovative new businesses, this autumn we will open our £1 million Ecosystem Fund, to make strategic investments in organisations and activities that create the best possible environment for Scottish startups to succeed.
Building on our ambition for the digital economy, we will scale up our support for digital adoption, investing £100 million in digital support programmes over this Parliament, to harness the digital ambitions of our SMEs and strengthen our digital economy. This includes the £25 million DigitalBoost programme – reopened in the government's first 100 days – providing grants and support to help SMEs get access to the right digital skills and equipment to improve their digital capability and capacity.
Through the Scotland 5G Centre, we are also continuing delivery of a network of 5G Innovation Hubs across Scotland that will provide entrepreneurs and small and medium‑sized enterprises with the skills they need to understand how 5G can benefit their business, collectively providing targeted support to diverse sectors across Scotland. Three hubs – Forth Valley, Dumfries, and Dundee – have already opened virtually, with physical openings to follow in autumn 2021, and a further four hubs are expected to open by May 2022.
We are also working to establish a green datacentre cluster management organisation that positions Scotland at the forefront for new investment opportunities and builds our profile as a competitive location for sustainable datacentres, leveraging our abundant natural resources in renewable energy.
While the experience of the pandemic has shown the power of technology to enable businesses to prosper, we also know there is a significant risk that it can create an uneven playing field. While a complex undertaking – with significant legislative implications, since many of the levers rest with the UK Government – we will explore the introduction of a new national digital sales tax, levelling the tax field between high street and online retailers.
Alongside the private sector, we will ensure the public sector helps to mobilise the tech and innovation revolution, delivering benefits both for organisations and the people who rely on their services through the CivTech programme. This works with innovative businesses to solve challenges faced by the public sector as quickly and effectively as possible. We will provide £13.5 million over the lifetime of this Parliament to scale CivTech's operations, and provide a further £46 million to fund the delivery of innovative products and services across the public sector. This funding will take the form of contracts for companies engaging with CivTech, helping drive the growth of the companies, create up to 700 new high‑value jobs, attract investment, and provide capacity to support delivery against key strategic priorities in the public sector. Through the work of the CivTech Alliance, we will continue to develop opportunities for trade to support innovative exportable technologies, attract foreign direct investment, and further our relations with international NGOs and governments through developing communities of practice around shared issues, such as climate change.
Alongside our enterprise agencies and the SNIB, we will support businesses at the forefront of developing the technologies of tomorrow, increasing our funding for research and development to £100 million over this Parliament. This will enable key sectors for the Scottish economy that rely on research and development to create new products and concepts, and then to move through the steps required to develop commercially viable solutions.
One sector which offers significant potential is the space sector. We will support Scotland to become a leading European space nation by working with industry to deliver a full end to end solution for satellite design, manufacture and testing, launch and data exploitation, targeting a £4 billion share of the global space market. One step will be the development of a joint Scottish Government, industry and academia strategy for sector growth, to be launched in October 2021, and delivery of a dedicated launch capability by summer 2023, targeting a £4 billion share of the global space market, with 20,000 jobs in the sector by 2030.
Innovation, in all its forms, will be critical to future success. Working with the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board and other stakeholders we will develop a new innovation strategy and ensure that the support we provide is easy to access and focused on areas of greatest opportunity. We will also ensure that we provide accessible, streamlined support and opportunities for entrepreneurs and start‑ ups in all sectors as we look for an innovation‑led recovery.
Scotland has a thriving life sciences sector which played an innovative role in our response to the pandemic. In order to support future growth the Scottish Health and Industry Partnership is working to achieve the dual ambitions of meeting health and wellbeing priorities and boosting economic prosperity. This will focus on the development of a Roadmap to Investment for Life Sciences, the creation of economic opportunities through the Supply Chain development programme, and future opportunities in the use of artificial intelligence in health and social care. To support the new opportunities in artificial intelligence we will provide £20 million to develop an AI Hub for Life Science, NHS and Social Care to create AI Innovation and commercialisation capability in Scotland linked to the national AI Strategy and Tech Scalars Programme.
Putting local business and communities at the heart of our economic recovery
The economic crisis has taken a significant toll on all businesses, but those impacts have been felt most acutely in certain areas. Many small businesses had no alternative but to shutter for months, with the prospect that their business model may never be the same again, and our high streets felt the squeeze as people turned to online shopping for convenience and safety. And the effects of that are not isolated to local businesses, as they are the lifeblood of our local economies. We will take action to ensure we protect those business where we can, and put more power and opportunity in the hands of our communities to ensure they can forge their own path to recovery.
Since the start of the pandemic, businesses have directly had £3.7 billion in support, including £2.6 billion in grants and £965 million in COVID‑19 non‑domestic rates (NDR) reliefs. To ensure some stability for those businesses hit hardest, we extended 100% NDR relief for properties in the retail, leisure, aviation and hospitality sectors for all of 2021‑22. Alongside other measures such as a reduction to the poundage, this ensures Scotland offers the most generous NDR regime in the UK and will help those businesses get back on their feet. We have also ensured that our support goes further than that provided in the rest of the UK: in our first 100 days, the Scottish Government delivered a second payment of £1,500 for taxi and private hire drivers, and up to £10,000 for taxi operator firms.
To support new businesses and their resilience, we will maintain the Business Growth Accelerator (BGA) and Fresh Start Reliefs for the duration of this Parliament. BGA provides 100% relief up to 12 months after first occupation of new‑builds, and no increases in rates for 12 months after a property improvement; Fresh Start Relief provides 100% relief for 12 months for businesses occupying certain long‑term empty properties. This ensures we incentivise non‑domestic property investment and continue to encourage businesses to reoccupy long‑term empty properties.
To support the small businesses who will be vital to the recovery of our towns and high streets, we will maintain the Small Business Bonus Scheme for the lifetime of the Parliament – ensuring that 100,000 business properties pay no rates and that the majority of ratepayers continue to pay a lower poundage than elsewhere in the UK. We will shortly introduce legislation to prevent the inappropriate use of material change of circumstances provisions in the NDR legislation in relation to COVID‑19, or COVID‑19 restrictions. To level the playing field for all non‑domestic properties, we will help local authorities tackle a known avoidance tactic on empty non‑domestic properties. This will deliver greater fiscal empowerment for councils in advance of the devolution of empty property relief in April 2023, supported further by the introduction of a fiscal framework for local government.
Local businesses have been challenged in competing with larger, out of town and online businesses – exacerbated during the pandemic with the closure of smaller physical business spaces. Local economies have suffered as a result, with the worst effects often in areas with pre‑existing inequality. To counteract that, we launched a refreshed Scotland Loves Local marketing campaign, to encourage people to 'think and choose local', and a Scotland Loves Local loyalty card to encourage and reward people for supporting local businesses. The card is free for businesses to use, and can be pre‑loaded with funds for rewards and gifts, or for use for transport, culture and leisure, and retail and hospitality. We have also launched a £10 million multi‑year Scotland Loves Local Fund to support local people, businesses and community partnerships. £2 million is being made available this year, supporting up to 100 organisations to bring new creative projects and activity to towns and neighbourhoods – helping build local wealth and increase footfall and activity, while supporting local enterprise partnerships.
We will also publish a Retail Strategy to help the sector in Scotland adapt, innovate and thrive and become an exemplar in sustainable and inclusive prosperity – supporting a robust, local supply chain and offering people and communities the goods and services that they want.
We will also support businesses with alternative ownership models, including cooperatives and social enterprises, with a view to increasing their representation in the Scottish economy, and increase the number of employee owned businesses in Scotland to 500 by 2030.
Alongside business, we want more people and local communities in Scotland to have a bigger stake in our economy, share ownership and build resilience to create a fairer and more secure economic future. Building on the development of the approach across Scotland, we will take forward a Community Wealth Building Bill in this Parliament, to enable more local communities and people to own, have a stake in, access and benefit from the wealth our economy generates. The Bill will cement and augment the role local authorities and other public sector anchor organisations, such as Health Boards, play in supporting local economic development and advancing a wellbeing economy, legislating for them to consider their economic footprint within a wider place system.
Alongside this, we will take forward a range of legislative reforms which ensure we give local communities and organisations greater powers over their own future. We will review the Community Empowerment Act, to consider how local communities can have more of a say over how local public assets are used – whether that is taking on the ownership or management of land or buildings, delivery of services to members of their community, or more say in how services are delivered, assets are used and resources are allocated.
We will bring forward a Local Democracy Bill, devolving more decisions and resources to more local spheres of democratic governance, following the conclusion of the Local Governance Review which will continue the joint working between Scottish Government, COSLA and communities. Over this Parliament, we will also provide accessible and inclusive financial support to allow more communities to purchase a share in their local sports club and/or facilities, by creating a Fan Bank.
While new developments in our local communities will be of particular importance in securing an inclusive and national recovery, we recognise that they can also put pressure on existing infrastructure. In such instances, it is right that developers make a fair and proportionate contribution to new or upgraded facilities. We will deliver an effective, fair mechanism for capturing, for public benefit, a share of the increase in land value that occurs when development is supported through the planning system. This will be with a view to new legislation in 2023‑24, taking into account powers for an infrastructure levy introduced in the Planning Scotland Act 2019.
To put planning at the heart of delivering green, inclusive and long‑term sustainable development, we will launch a consultative draft of Scotland's fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) this autumn, taking an ambitious approach to prioritising emissions reduction, integrating land use and transport, focusing on place based outcomes, supporting green economic recovery which promotes nature based solutions, and supporting the concept of 20‑minute neighbourhoods. We will involve the relevant Economic Development body in assessing potential economic benefits of proposals for development identified in NPF4 as being of national or regional significance.
We will also begin delivering our 5 year, £35 million programme to digitally transform Scotland's planning system. This year, to support community involvement in shaping local areas, we will embark on a pilot roll out of a Placebuilder digital engagement tool. We will also begin to comprehensively improve the online process of applying for planning permission, to speed up the process and provide greater clarity for applicants.
To help support the delivery of much‑needed infrastructure, development and regeneration projects in the public interest, we will reform and modernise the compulsory purchase system in Scotland, making it clearer, fairer and faster for all parties. Initial stakeholder engagement will commence in the coming year, ahead of public consultation and a Bill later in the parliamentary term.
We have supported the recommendations of the Tourism Recovery Taskforce, providing a £25 million Tourism Recovery Fund supporting a range of projects this year, and will consider the best approach to Phase 2 recovery work, covering the following 2 years. The tourism sector, along with the hospitality sector, is globally recognised as having been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Effective recovery will be vital in ensuring the sector can be a force for good in the local and national economy – through fair work, sustainable jobs, and value for communities - and place Scotland as a world leader in responsible tourism.
In our first 100 days, the Scottish Government has made funding available to the sector, providing £1.4 million for family holiday vouchers for low income families, unpaid carers and disadvantaged young people, offering subsidised breaks in Scotland, and £4 million for a new days out scheme to support all visitors to take advantage of our many attractions, in the off-season, providing benefit to both the attraction and the visitor.
Other key elements of the £25 million package include £8 million to support international demand building, to put Scotland back in the global stage, £3 million to support sector and destination organisations to develop their offers and further enhance the things that make a visit to Scotland, whether from home or abroad, so special, and investment in tourism and hospitality talent and skills development.
We will also maintain our investment of over £6 million annually in the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, helping tourist attractions and their communities deal with the impact of increased visitor numbers on the local infrastructure. In our first 100 days, we have set up a taskforce to develop an Agritourism Growth Strategy Group, supporting farmers to diversify their land use, including to support campsites and other tourism initiatives, and published a refreshed food tourism action plan. We have also provided £2.75 million help rural areas welcome back visitors, including more seasonal rangers, temporary toilets, car parking and campervan facilities.
In rural and island communities, to aid recovery and assist businesses to set up, in the coming financial year we will launch a £20 million Rural Entrepreneur Fund. This will work to establish 2,000 new businesses by providing grants of up to £10,000 to support the creation of new businesses or the relocation of existing business, helping to build up our rural economies, providing local skilled employment, and reversing depopulation.
We will invest £30 million over the next five years through the Islands Programme, to support delivery of the National Islands Plan and a fair, integrated, green and inclusive recovery. This includes the £2 million Island Communities Fund, offering grants of up to £150,000 to support employment and community resilience and help enhance activities linked to commitments within the National Islands Plan. We will also establish an Islands Infrastructure Fund, to identify and deliver on critical infrastructure projects across the islands, which will have a transformative effect on the community as a whole. A £1.3 million Healthy Islands Fund will also be launched to help improve mental wellbeing post pandemic and to enable participation in healthy lifestyles and physical activities across our islands.
To address population decline among young people, and an ageing population in many island communities, we began consultation on the Islands Bond in August this year. By Summer 2022 we will introduce a new £5 million Islands Bond fund, providing up to £50,000 each for up to 100 households by 2026, by providing financial support for island residents to remain in their community, or to encourage people to move there.
Our new Young Islanders Network will provide opportunities for young people in Scotland's island communities to share their experiences, make their voices heard, shape decision‑making about issues that impact their lives and ensure that the National Islands Plan fully considers their interests and priorities.
We will legislate within this Parliament to tackle the concentration of land ownership, which can have detrimental effects for rural communities in particular. Subject to devolved competence constraints, we will aim to bring forward a Land Reform Bill to tackle the scale and concentration of land ownership across rural and urban Scotland, including provision for a public interest test to apply to transfers of particularly large scale landholdings, with a presumption in favour of community buy‑out when the test applies. We will double the Scottish Land Fund from £10 million to £20 million per year by 2026 to provide support for community ownership projects in urban and rural areas, responding to the increasing popularity of the fund, which was over‑subscribed last year for the first time since 2003.
We believe the way land is used and managed can help address the twin environmental and climate crises, and support a just transition – but it must change to do so. We have launched a set of Regional Land Use Partnership pilots this year – to test and develop new approaches to governance and decision making, and adopt a natural capital approach to land use change. Should these pilots prove successful, we will develop plans for a second phase from 2023.
In supporting our rural and island economies, we will ensure young people have more opportunities. We will deliver islands‑focused activity through the Young Person's Guarantee. We have also established a commission to undertake a review of land‑based education, tasked with coming up with recommendations by 2022‑23 to attract more people, specifically women and young people, into land‑based sectors, and to improve the learning 'pipeline' – from early years, to university and college.
A strong and sustainable future for Scottish farming, fishing and aquaculture
The Scottish Government has been clear that the consequences of the UK's exit from the EU would be damaging at any time, but in the middle of the current crisis it was unforgiveable. That is especially true for some of our most critical sectors, and those likely to be hit hardest, in agriculture and seafood. Already we have seen how some sectors have experienced contraction, with export values and volumes drastically falling, and reduced turnover.
We remain wholly committed to maintaining a close relationship and strong links with the EU, and will seek to maintain or exceed EU environmental standards. As the EU develops a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and Scotland develops a new agriculture policy, we will ensure our future policy stays broadly in line with the objectives of the new CAP as far as possible, to allow us to rejoin the EU at a future point with minimal disruption. We will also seek to broadly align our pesticide regime with the EU, and we will shortly introduce a new fertilisers regulatory regime based on EU regulations.
As we develop our policy currently outside of the EU, we continue to support the rural economy through stability and simplicity. In our first 100 days, the Scottish Government has established an Agriculture Reform Implementation Oversight Board to develop new proposals for sustainable farming support. The Board places farmers and crofters at the heart of a future support framework and will seek to help Scottish agriculture to become more economically and environmentally sustainable.
The board will build on the recommendations of the Farmer‑led Groups and also take forward commitments in the Climate Change Plan update, with legislation planned for 2023 to underpin: a new support framework that will include delivering climate mitigation and adaptation, nature restoration and high quality food production; and, increased equality of opportunity, improving business resilience, efficiency and profitability.
This work will also be informed by the outcomes from the consultation launched in August on key themes from the reports of the Farmer‑led Groups, the Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group, and the Climate Change Plan update as well as work done by others, including Farming for 1.5, WWF, the Scottish Food Coalition and Just Transition Commission. A preliminary package of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture will be developed by COP26.
We remain committed to supporting active farming and food production with direct payments, while ensuring that agriculture plays the leading role it needs to in delivering a net zero Scotland. As part of our future legislative reforms, by 2025 we will shift half of all funding for farming and crofting from unconditional to conditional support, with targeted outcomes for biodiversity gain and a drive towards low carbon approaches which improve resilience, efficiency and profitability.
Technology, science and innovation has a key role to play in making farming more climate and nature friendly. We want Scotland to be at the forefront of these advances and opportunities and will appoint a new Chief Scientific Advisor on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. We will continue to support the development of vertical farming. In our first 100 days, we co‑invested in a new vertical farm, to be built at SRUC's Edinburgh campus, focusing on education and research and incorporating commercial and public engagement capacity. In addition, we are gathering evidence on benefits and barriers to vertical farm production systems via the Local Food Strategy Consultation, and are committed to exploring further support for these technologies over the next year.
In the coming year, we will support further research into how we maximise the role that slurry in Scotland might contribute to our renewable and bioenergy ambitions. This will inform the publication of a Bioenergy Action Plan for Scotland in 2023.
We will also put in place measures to seek to double the amount of land used for organic farming by 2026. This will build on the financial incentives we currently offer to farmers and crofters to convert to and manage their land under organic standards.
Alongside direct support for the sector as a whole, the Scottish Government will ensure that the people who work the land receive greater support, and that farming and agriculture are more diverse and representative. We will consider options to see agricultural workers paid the living wage, ensuring more money reaches rural communities and their families and helps tackle rural poverty.
We will continue to modernise tenant farming – a key part of the rural economy and, for some farmers and new entrants, the only route to entry. We will bring the remaining provisions of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 into force, with regulations to tackle issues of enforced sale, and removing the requirement to register an interest in pre‑emptive right to buy. We will also legislate as part of wider agricultural support reform to ensure tenant farmers and smallholders have the same access to climate change and mitigation measures; a revised approach to rent reviews; and consider how valuation for resumption should be assessed. We will also begin to modernise small landholding legislation and will consult on the reform of trust law that enables avoidance of legal obligations like the pre‑emptive right to buy for tenant farmers.
To ensure a sustainable future for agriculture we must have new people coming through, and support a generational renewal. In the coming year, we will begin work as part of the wider reform agenda to determine how best to support new and young entrants into farming.
We will ensure women living or working in Scottish agriculture will be empowered to develop their skills, access opportunities and realise their potential, creating equality of opportunity and prosperity, and supporting business innovation. We will double support to £600,000 per year over the course of this Parliament to deliver practical solutions to improve the lives of women living and working in agriculture, including enabling women to build more resilient businesses.
Alongside agriculture, the marine economy is a significant contributor to the Scottish economy, and particularly to rural communities – it provides £4.3 billion in gross value added, accounting for 3.0% of the overall Scottish economy, and employment for 74,200 people,. As with agriculture, however, this Scottish success is threatened by the impact of EU exit, and the UK Government must maintain its commitment to provide marine funding lost to Scotland with EU Exit, with an allocation of £62 million a year. As a priority these sectors need access to the EU single market and we will do all we can to regain markets and opportunities for our fish and seafood sector. We will publish a strategy for seafood in 2022 with actions to revitalise the sector consistent with a sustainable and natural capital approach, to ensure remote and rural communities benefit from activity to support growth.
We will continue to implement the actions set out in our ten year Sea Fisheries Management Strategy, including the introduction of a new Future Catching Policy and rollout of Remote Electronic Monitoring to key parts of the fishing fleet, supporting local management of inshore fisheries, developing more sustainable fisheries and inshore fishing opportunities consistent with a natural capital approach. We will increase the benefit for local areas where there is fishing, ensuring quota is in the hands of active fishers and increasing the proportion of fish landed into Scotland, through the introduction of a Scottish economic link licence condition.
Within the marine economy, aquaculture brings significant benefits to both the national economy, representing the UK's largest food export, and Scotland's rural economy, supporting over 12,000 jobs, many of which are based in our coastal communities. However, the environmental concerns are recognised, and we must ensure an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for the sector. We will deliver a Scottish Government led vision for sustainable aquaculture which places an enhanced emphasis on environmental protection and community benefits – and explore how producers can contribute more to support inspection services, reduce their environmental impact, provide real community benefit, and support innovation. In the Scottish Government's first 100 days, we have appointed Professor Russell Griggs to lead an independent review of fish farming regulatory processes, as a first step to reform and streamline regulatory processes so that development is more responsive, transparent and efficient. Professor Griggs has been tasked with making recommendations for further work by December 2021.
We will take forward an immediate programme of work to better protect wildlife and the environment, responding to the Salmon Interactions Working Group, consult on a spatially adaptive sea lice risk assessment framework for fish farms by the end of the year, and strengthen controls on sea lice, wrasse and fish escapes in the course of 2021‑22.
Alongside the highest environmental standards in our marine and rural economies, we will ensure the highest standards of animal health and welfare, including the creation of a new dedicated Scottish Veterinary Service within this Parliament, to ensure there are highly trained staff to provide Scotland with good animal health and food safety to meet all our needs across the public and private sector for animal health issues.
Before 2025, we will review animal welfare legislation, and also take forward a range of legislative measures over this Parliament, including:
- Introduce a Bill this year to strengthen the law relating to the use of dogs to hunt and flush foxes and other wild mammals, implementing the majority of the recommendations of the independent report on the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, and introduce further measures such as preventing trail hunting.
- Work with other UK administrations on legislation to control exports of livestock and imports of dogs, modernise zoo licensing, and control import and sale of products that raise ethical concerns such as fur.
- Start consultation this year on proposals to improve animal transport legislation, and phase out cages for gamebirds and laying hens, and farrowing crates for pigs.
- Consult on legislation to extend the framework for licensing of activities involving animals, to new areas such as performing animals and animal care services
- Implement recent livestock worrying legislation which will come into force in November 2021.
- Through an independent taskforce, consider whether the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) should be given extra legislative powers to investigate wildlife crime. This group will report before the end of 2022.
- Review the wider species licensing system with a view to ensuring that the law is being applied correctly and that lethal control is only licensed where the conditions required for such a licence are demonstrably being met. The review will also assess the potential to apply the principle of full cost recovery to species licensing and the introduction of a public register of licenses to improve transparency.
- Review the current Honey Bee Health Strategy by December 2021 and publish a new strategy by June 2022.
While the majority of those tasked with managing land already follow best practice guidance, the evidence is clear that urgent action is needed to tackle wildlife crime and to address the environmental impacts of intensive grouse moor management. We will support the transition to more economically and environmentally productive uses of land where appropriate and deliver the recommendations of the Grouse Moor Management Review Group as a matter of urgency, including the licensing of grouse moors. Licensing or further regulation will cover the key areas identified in the review, including muirburn, wildlife control, the use of medicated grit and wildlife crime. Licensing will be supported by clear penalties to encourage compliance, as well as additional effort to detect wildlife crime.
We will also modernise deer management, implementing the recommendations of the Deer Management Working Group. While an iconic Scottish species, wild deer populations have been steadily increasing, and high numbers and population densities have a devastating impact on the environment. It is vital we protect tree‑planting, woodland regeneration and peatland restoration from further damage if we are to meet our climate change and biodiversity commitments. We will introduce a new cull return system, to ensure proportionate deer management plans, modernise existing legislation, including deer close seasons and use of specialist equipment when managing deer, and design future agricultural support schemes to encourage a reduction in grazing pressure in the uplands.
Strengthening Scotland's food supply chains
The food and drink growth sector remains a vital contributor to Scotland's economic wellbeing and our global reputation and identity, contributing £5.6 billion in value added per year and providing around 122,000 jobs, across the length and breadth of the country. We will support sustainable, inclusive growth and prosperity of the sector.
We will introduce a Good Food Nation Bill, providing a clear, legislative framework which places responsibilities on Scottish Ministers and specified public bodies to publish and adhere to statements of policy on food, and require those statements to set out the main outcomes to be achieved in relation to food‑related issues, the policies needed to do this and the indicators or other measures required to assess progress. We will further consider whether there is a need for a statutory body. In support of this work we will reinstate the Ministerial Working Group on Food.
To provide better coordination and support for local food production, in our first 100 days the Scottish Government has produced a draft Local Food Strategy – aimed at 'grow your own' initiatives, connecting Scottish producers with buyers, and harnessing public sector procurement – which we are now consulting on. Following the consultation we will update the strategy and develop and publish an action plan.
We will also undertake scoping work this year on a single marketing brand for all Scottish produce – 'Sustainably Scottish' – which would be available to all Scottish‑based producers, manufacturers and suppliers who can satisfy stringent criteria on provenance and low carbon operations. We have also recently opened applications to the 2021‑22 £7.3 million Food Processing, Marketing and Co‑operation fund, offering grants to help food and drink processing businesses develop by partially funding capital and non‑capital projects.
Through the wider Food and Drink Sector Recovery Plan, we will take action to offer more Scottish produce and fresh, healthy products, closer to where people live. This year, we are funding the Scottish Grocers Federation's Go Local Programme – transforming 20 convenience stores to allow more fresh Scottish produce, with a healthier focus, to be sold – with a specific focus on disadvantaged areas. Alongside this, we funding Trellis, Social Farms & Gardens Scotland, and the Green Action Trust to encourage and support community growing – including outreach work to promote community growing in more disadvantaged areas.