Transforming local and regional economies
“The Scottish Government wants to create a fairer society by enabling more people to benefit directly from the wealth generated by local communities.
That is why we will introduce legislation, meeting a 2021 Programme for Government commitment, in this Parliamentary term aiming to advance strategic economic development and the creation of a wellbeing-focused economy across Scotland.
Scotland is becoming a global leader in Community Wealth Building so it is fitting that on Wednesday the Scottish Parliament held its first debate on the subject. MSPs passed a motion noting the Scottish Government’s commitment to bring forward a Community Wealth Building Bill.
The next step is to accelerate progress by rolling out Community Wealth Building across Scotland to deliver maximum returns for communities through using all resources at the disposal of public sector bodies – working with their partners in the private and third sectors. We intend to consult widely and collaboratively as we develop our proposal for new laws.
We are developing our plans in partnership with key organisations, stakeholders and communities across the country, who are backing plans to boost community wealth. The Federation of Small Business has highlighted the benefits these plans can bring to local economies and business across Scotland.
Colin Borland, Director of Devolved Nations at the Federation of Small Businesses, highlighted this by saying: “A Community Wealth Building Bill will be a great chance to put into practice some of the reforms that we at FSB have been advocating for years. If we get it right, we can unleash the power of our big public sector anchor institutions to drive local economies – and multiply the direct impact of their spending on the communities they serve. We know that money that’s spent local stays local. So local firms need to get the fairest crack of the whip when it comes to bidding for contracts. That means more place-based procurement strategies and local buyers who are empowered to adopt creative approaches in sourcing goods and services. This forthcoming legislation will be an ideal opportunity to deliver just that.”
That is why the Scottish Government is helping local authorities and other public sector ‘anchor’ organisations, like health boards, use their collective investment power and influence to work with the private and third sectors to create and protect jobs, grow businesses and place more assets in the hands of communities.
The Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation highlights Scotland’s extraordinary economic potential. Crucially, a key plank of NSET also recognises the challenges we face as a society, by setting out a decade-long plan to develop a wellbeing economy, where prosperity and equality share equal billing.
Innovation in areas like regeneration and procurement has been the hallmark of Scotland’s approach to the revitalisation of communities and strengthening of local and regional economies.
This will be legislation which aims to make our society and economy a fairer environment for all and the Scottish Government will work collaboratively with all who want to help shape that future.”
Tom Arthur, Public Finance Minister