From the Fraser Commentary – Scotland’s domestic policy agenda

One consequence of the Brexit debate is that it has left little room for discussions of the emerging structural challenges and opportunities our economy is facing.

So what are these big policy questions?

First and foremost, the sustainable growth challenge is arguably still something that remains inadequately addressed in the political discourse in Scotland.

For all our economy’s documented successes, the backdrop is an economy that has grown slowly for the best part of a decade.

We have clear strengths in sectors and firms across the Scotland, from food & drink, financial services, energy and tourism. Our workforce is highly skilled with our university sector world class.

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April 17, 2019

From the Fraser Commentary – the policy challenges

Next month will mark the 20th anniversary of the first elections to the devolved Scottish Parliament.

There will no doubt be some reflection on the successes and failures of the parliament since then. But whatever your view, it is hard now to imagine Scotland and Scotland’s economy without Holyrood playing a central role.

The significance of this role is only likely to increase in the years ahead. With Brexit, major structural shifts in our economy, the continuing recovery from a decade of austerity and the possibility of a 2nd independence referendum, further upheaval is inevitable.

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FAI Economic Commentary: Tackling regional economic inequalities

Tackling regional economic disparities has been a priority of successive governments in both the UK and Scotland.

The UK Government’s Industrial Strategy is their latest attempt, with regional growth 1 of 5 ‘foundations of success’. Here in Scotland, ‘cohesion’ – or its new term ‘regional inclusive growth’ – has been a feature of the Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy since 2007.

It is hard to disagree that a country will be economically stronger if every region has the opportunity to fulfil its potential.

However, Scottish and UK policy history is littered with well-intentioned – but ultimately ill-fated – attempts to narrow the gap in economic performance between regions. Many of the challenges are deep-rooted and structural, whilst attempts to tackle them throw-up challenging trade-offs and political risks.

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September 26, 2018