Can we transform Scotland’s economy and return to economic growth while also reaching net zero by 2045?
With the state of the economy and the public finances set to dominate politics over the next 12 months, in March 2023 Holyrood brought together a range of experts to examine the difficult decisions that lay ahead.
We were joined by senior ministerial representatives of both the Scottish and UK governments as we explored whether there is likely to be a growing divergence between spending choices being made at Holyrood and Westminster and the unprecedented cost-of-living crisis being faced by families across the UK.
Both governments were experiencing huge budgetary pressures, with the Scottish Government announcing income tax rises for everyone earning more than £43,662 and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt lowering the threshold for the 45 per cent additional rate of income tax from £150,000 to £125,140.
This came as the UK endured its worst industrial unrest since the 1990s, and economists warned that the UK was likely to face the worst recession and slowest recovery of any leading developed nation in the following year.
As such, at our event we looked at whether Scotland could avoid a return to austerity by examining the spending choices of both the UK and Scottish Governments and considering how we could:
- Grow Scotland’s economy in 2023 through increasing productivity, broadening our export markets and enhancing our entrepreneurial and skills base.
- Truly transform our economy to put Scotland in the best possible position to capitalise on the economic dividends of a low-carbon future and embed circularity at its core.
- Alleviate the cost-of-living crisis and poverty in Scotland by creating a fairer and more equal society.
- Meet Scotland’s net zero targets and build a resilient, future-proof economy against a backdrop of economic uncertainty.