Since 2007, this Government's central purpose has been to create a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. This remains the Government's ambition to which all our efforts and actions are directed and is at the core of our Economic Strategy.
A strong, vibrant and diverse economy is essential to our national prosperity and in creating the wealth to support high quality public services. Ensuring that growth is shared and sustainable is the key to unlocking all of Scotland's potential and strengthening our greatest asset - the people of Scotland.
Our people are creative, ambitious and resilient and we are home to world-class entrepreneurs and a highly skilled workforce. We will continue to build on these strengths to create a more competitive, more sustainable and fairer economy.
As a result of the actions we have taken, we have seen a period of sustained growth in Scotland's economy over the last couple of years. Output has returned to above pre-recession levels, and there are record numbers of people in employment. Historic gaps in the levels of productivity and earnings between Scotland and the rest of the UK have also been reduced.
The Economic Strategy in place since 2007, and our Economic Recovery Plans, introduced from 2009, have played a key part in improving our economic performance.
However, as we look forward, we want to achieve more than simply a return to pre-recession levels of economic performance. We need to tackle the underlying challenges in our economy and labour market, increase the competitiveness and sustainability of the Scottish economy and reduce inequality. We need to ensure that there are sufficiently skilled and well-paid job opportunities available, support the move to the low carbon age, take advantage of the opportunities presented by globalisation and technological change and ensure that the benefits of economic success are shared by everyone.
Scotland's Economic Strategy sets out an overarching framework for how we aim to achieve a more productive, cohesive and fairer Scotland. It forms the strategic plan for existing and all future Scottish Government policy. It prioritises boosting investment and innovation, supporting inclusive growth and maintaining our focus on increasing internationalisation.
There is growing international evidence that promoting competitiveness and addressing inequality are important interdependent ambitions.
Creating a fairer society is not just a desirable goal in itself, but is essential to the sustained, long-term prosperity of the Scottish economy. Our approach to economic policy is based on the principle that delivering sustainable growth and addressing long-standing inequalities are reinforcing - and not competing - objectives.
Creating greater prosperity and fairness is a shared national endeavour. Only by working in partnership with the wider public sector in Scotland, the third sector, trade unions, businesses and communities, will we be able to create a society where the benefits of economic growth are shared more equally and where future economic growth is stronger and more sustainable.
First Minister of Scotland
Email: Natalie Hemmings, email@example.com