Scotland has extraordinary economic potential. Our natural resources, heritage, talent, creativity, academic institutions and business base in both established and emerging sectors are the envy of many across the world.
Every citizen holds Scotland's economic potential in their hands. Our economic growth and prosperity over many decades has been the result of entrepreneurial, talented and motivated workers in every sector, geography and demography working in a culture that rewards and celebrates innovation and initiative.
This strategy recognises the opportunities and the challenges facing Scotland. It sets out how, over the next ten years, we aim to deliver economic growth that significantly outperforms the last decade, so that the Scottish economy is more prosperous, more productive and more internationally competitive. We will do this through focused interventions, working in collaboration with businesses and other partners, building on our strengths in sectors like energy, financial services, creative industries and life-sciences and carving out new strengths in technology, space and decarbonisation. We have identified five key transformational programmes of action that can drive improvements in Scotland's economy: stimulating entrepreneurship; opening new markets; increasing productivity; developing the skills we need for the decade ahead; and ensuring fairer and more equal economic opportunities.
The next ten years have been branded the "decisive decade".
In the next decade, we face a choice to either lead or to lag behind other successful economies all whilst we recover from Covid, deliver net zero, tackle structural inequalities and grow our economy. We choose to lead.
This strategy is about delivering the best economic performance possible for Scotland within the current constitutional constraints. It takes decisive steps towards the creation of a wellbeing economy, and drives a green economic recovery to meet our climate and nature targets while ensuring we maximise the benefits as part of a just transition.
But with the full powers of an independent country we can, of course, deliver more. At present, macro-economic, fiscal, migration and other levers lie with the UK Government. We cannot ignore that fact when pursuing economic prosperity, nor that even the limited powers we currently have are being steadily eroded through the Internal Market Act. The economic prospectus for an independent Scotland is being prepared ahead of an independence referendum and will set out how those additional powers can be deployed to build greater prosperity over the long term.
Our approach has been informed by the Advisory Council for Economic Transformation and wide-ranging engagement with businesses, unions and other stakeholders.
Throughout the development of this strategy, one message has been particularly clear. As a country we will be judged on the outcomes we deliver, not the strategy we write. Words and intentions matter, but only actions deliver change. The task of transforming our economy requires an equally radical transformation in the way we deliver results. Government will provide clear and decisive leadership, but it can't and shouldn't do everything. Ours must be a country in which the public, private and third sectors respect each other's strengths, draw on each other's talents and work together to create and sustain an economy that works for all.
Kate Forbes MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy