What steps can we take to turbocharge productivity in Scotland and what effects would that process have on our economy, businesses and society as a whole?
In December 2016 the CBI published 'Unlocking regional growth', a report exploring the drivers of growth and productivity differences across the UK and what could be done to fix disparities between regions and nations.
The analysis identified four main drivers of productivity differences: educational attainment, transport links and connectivity, management practices and innovation, as well as the proportion of firms who export.
Pursuing prosperity explores the significance of these drivers for Scottish productivity.
The scale of productivity differences across Scotland:
- Scotland's productivity performance has fared better than the UK as a whole over the last decade. The historical gap between productivity levels in Scotland and the UK as a whole has narrowed significantly, with Scottish productivity levels now about the same as the UK average. However, both nations fall behind on international comparisons.
- Crucially, there are significant differences in productivity between regions that need to be addressed. CBI analysis found that the most productive local authority area in Scotland is 50% more productive than the least productive local authority area.
- The Scottish parliament’s new revenue raising powers and the challenges facing the Scottish economy make boosting productivity even more important for future prosperity. Supporting private sector growth in Scotland will be essential.
- The Scottish government must take the opportunity to turbocharge the economy and ensure Scotland is an attractive place to do business. City Region Deals can play a role in spreading the benefits of improved productivity.
- This isn’t just a challenge for the Scottish government. A successful UK economy needs all its component parts firing on all cylinders. Therefore, the UK government must back prosperity in Scotland. It is essential that Scotland’s business and political leaders are involved in a meaningful partnership with the UK government to address key challenges.