The First Minister of Scotland is to deliver a speech to businesses encouraging them to adapt to new ways of working to boost the economy in the wake of the pandemic.
Nicola Sturgeon will pledge the Scottish Government’s support to work in partnership with industry in an opening address at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) Annual Forum in Edinburgh on Monday.
She is expected to urge businesses to look at new ways of working that will help achieve a more resilient economy and a wealthier, fairer and greener Scotland.
During the conference, the SNP leader will confirm the expansion of Scotland’s “Productivity Clubs” – a network with more than 1,800 members across Scotland offering peer support to improve and grow enterprises in areas such as digital transition and fair work.
Sturgeon is expected to say: “We are recovering from the worst pandemic in more than a century, and the huge economic and social challenges it has brought.
“We face the highest inflation in more than a generation, and the growing cost of doing business is being made far worse by Brexit, which has removed us from a single market seven times the size of the UK.
“And of course all businesses, like all governments, need to adapt their working methods as we seek to reduce our climate change emissions, and become a net zero economy that truly serves our collective wellbeing for current and future generations.
“Those challenges can sound daunting. But we also need to keep in mind that Scotland has huge opportunities and assets to help transform our economy.
“Inward investment in Scotland increased by 14% in 2021 – far above the UK’s increase of 2%. There was a rise of more than 70% in the number of inward investments in the digital sector.
“That highlights the strengths of Scotland’s skills and infrastructure, but it also reflects that businesses are increasingly taking investment decisions based on issues such as a country’s approach to sustainability, wellbeing and climate change.
The First Minister said the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation, which was published in March, aims to capitalise on these strengths.
“And it makes it clear that recovery has to be a truly national endeavour,” she added.
“That won’t be achieved by business alone, by government alone, or by the third sector alone – we will all need to work together to create a wealthier, fairer and more sustainable nation.”
The SCDI Annual Forum will bring together up to 300 delegates consisting of SCDI members and senior leaders from the Scottish and UK governments, business, third sector and academia to discuss Scotland’s future.