Scotland's Agenda for Cities

Scotland's Agenda for Cities sets out the Scottish Government’s strategic framework for its future interaction with Scotland’s cities.

Section 4 - Supporting Inclusive Growth

When we talk about inclusive growth, we mean growth that:

  • combines increases in prosperity with greater equity
  • creates opportunities for all
  • distributes the dividends of increased prosperity fairly

As Scotland's economic hubs, our cities have a key role in tackling inequalities and delivering social justice. Cities enable large numbers of people to realise their ambitions and engage positively in the economy and in their communities. However, it is also within our cities that we see some of the starkest inequalities - of income, of health, and of life chances more generally. This is a global pattern, recognised by the OECD in their Inclusive Growth in cities programme.

A clear focus on growth and a commitment to greater equality, shared across all our cities, will help strengthen the measures we are taking to tackle disadvantage and ensure opportunities are available to all. Suitable affordable housing and good transport links within cities are vital components in this mix.

Our goal is to create social and economic value, and to tackle inequality in locally sensitive ways. For example, social enterprise is a model of business which is putting our economic strategy into practice, blending economic growth with social justice.

Our focus will be to:

  • maximise the effectiveness of City Region Deals
  • develop a better understanding of our economic geography and use this to deliver more inclusive growth
  • continue to seek new approaches to delivering inclusive growth

4.1 Maximising effectiveness of City Region Deals

City Region Deals offer the potential for new collaborative regional partnerships, focused on long-term strategic approaches to improving regional economies. The starting point for discussion should always be a clear regional strategic vision for economic development. Deals in Scotland should fit within the overall framework of Scotland's Economic Strategy - making a clear and measurable significant long-term contribution to both prosperity and fairness. We will expect that any deal must operate at a functional economic geography, and be underpinned by robust governance at the regional level that includes key stakeholders from the wider public sector, business and industry.

The £1.13 billion infrastructure investment in the Glasgow City Region City Deal is complemented by a model for supporting 600 very long-term and vulnerable unemployed people, who have been unable to work because of ill-health, back into sustained jobs. A smaller oneyear programme will test an innovative model for supporting employees in the traditionally low-paid care sector to increase their earnings through training and development. If successful, the model could provide a template for supporting employees in other low-paid sectors.

Already we have committed to work with any Scottish city considering a City Region Deal. In August 2014, the Scottish Government signed the first deal in Scotland with the UK Government and the eight local authorities making up the Glasgow City Region [5] . In January 2016 the Aberdeen City Region Deal Heads of Terms was agreed, and we expect a further deal for Inverness over the coming months.

We are committed to working with all our cities to unlock investment, whether that is individually or collectively and whether that is through a City Region Deal, one of the Scottish Government's initiatives to stimulate growth and deliver infrastructure investment, or a combination of measures.

Building on this we will support delivery of those deals which are agreed, and we will continue to support those cities seeking a deal. We will aim to embed inclusive growth at the heart of all new deals. In parallel, we will use the 2015 Programme for Government commitment of Regional Partnership Plans to broaden this approach beyond City Region Deals.

4.2 Using our increased understanding of economic geography to influence inclusive growth

Already we have:

  • a national planning framework, which is the spatial expression of Scotland's Economic Strategy. It provides a strong and clear basis for planning decisions at city and city region levels. Strategic Development Plans deal with cross boundary spatial matters across four strategic development planning regions in Scotland, incorporating five of our seven cities
  • a Regeneration Strategy which supports Scotland's most disadvantaged areas to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. This contributes to the regeneration of communities right across Scotland, including our city regions
  • the Town Centre Action Plan, which supports the changing scope of town centres across Scotland. It recognises the inter-relationship between towns and cities and the role each plays in helping to create vibrant, economic places central to community life
  • mapped the economic assets for each of Scotland's growth sectors. This has informed economic strategies, land use planning and skills provision at local, regional and national levels

Building on this we will use the information gained to maximise the Scottish offer across key sectors. We will also help our cities understand and capitalise on the role that they could play as a system of cities within our nation.

4.3 Continuing to seek new approaches to delivering inclusive growth

Already we are developing a policy framework for inclusive growth, which recognises the inter-linkage of inclusive growth with investment, innovation and internationalisation. This will help identify contributions, synergies and trade-offs between individual policies and objectives. In November 2015, Scotland's first ever Cities Convention brought citizens and city leaders together to talk about encouraging inclusive growth in our cities.

Building on this we will use the new framework to support the embedding of inclusive growth in our collaborative activities. We will also progress the dialogue started at the Cities Convention, listening to people and engaging in meaningful work together to deliver inclusive growth for our city regions.

The Scottish Government holds its first ever Cities Convention

The Convention brought together young people and community representatives from all of Scotland's cities, Scottish Government Ministers, city leaders and city officials to talk about better ways to achieve inclusive growth in our cities.

Chaired by Eddy Adams, an expert in city innovation, the day included workshops and inspiring speakers, including Gorka Espiau, who spoke about tackling the structural causes of inequality in Leeds, Belfast, Sheffield and Montreal.

Rachael Brown, social entrepreneur and Saltire Fellow, shared her perspectives on innovation and risk-taking and we listened to ideas and challenges from community representatives from all seven Scottish cities [6] .

"Inequality is not a fact; it's a decision we take."

Gorka Espiau
Cities Convention 2015

We asked participants about what they enjoyed.

" All the different discussions and opinions…
it was great that all the leaders of the different city councils were there."

"Ministerial attendance and their accessibility"

"The mix of people at the event."

"Meeting other people and listening to their views and opinions"

"Real views coming through. A positive attitude. Recognition of need for success/ wealth to be shared and inclusive."

Feedback also included:

"Please, please do this again."

"Please encourage more input from the people - not the already engaged or the willing to engage…. find innovative ways to connect with the workers, the homeless, the disabled, all the people that don't usually have a say."

"It's important to grow the confidence of people in cities, especially those currently disempowered. People make cities!"


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