The Scottish Government pointed to recent research published by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which found that increased inequality had reduced the UK’s growth potential.
Considering the GDP growth rate of different countries between 1990-2010, the research claims that rising UK inequality has negatively impacted economic growth in the UK by nearly 9 percentage points over that period.
Scottish Government analysis suggests that UK GDP could have been nearly £100 billion higher in 2010 had the UK economy grown at this potential rate. This equates to approximately £1,600 per person.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Our Economic Strategy will set out a long term vision based on one fundamental principle: by becoming a fairer society, we will also become a more productive and more prosperous society.
“We want to see economic growth that is inclusive, innovative and fairly distributed. For too long, our economy has been held back by rising inequality as a result of successive generations of Westminster economic policy.
“I have been clear that a key priority for this Government is to tackle the blight of inequality, which serves as a destructive social and economic spiral. These figures suggest that had equality and economic growth been confronted with equal importance, then UK GDP would now be approximately £100 billion higher. That is a proposition that simply cannot be ignored.
“The Scottish Government’s policy of inclusive growth is already being recognised internationally by economists and academics and I am delighted to set out full details of Scotland’s Economic Strategy later today.”
While not mentioning LGBTI equality specifically, the government’s new economic strategy commits to overcoming many of the barriers to equality and specifically emphasises that the principles underpinning the economic thinking are rooted in an aspiration for a fairer society in which inequalities no longer “hold us back” and in which “individuals can flourish”. It recognises that inequality has a detrimental effect on economic potential.
Practical steps being proposed by the government to facilitate inclusive growth include:
* driving forward improvements in educational outcomes in Scotland’s most disadvantaged and marginalised communities with an Attainment Scotland Fund of £100 million;
• establishment of a Fair Work Convention to draw on best practise and facilitate a joint approach with our partners;
• support for a more diverse workforce by removing barriers to employment; and
• introducing the Scottish Business Pledge, which aims to develop a partnership between the Scottish Government and businesses.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the strategy showed what could be achieved but also what more could be delivered with further powers for the Scottish Parliament.
“In each of the key areas of innovation, investment, inclusive growth and internationalisation there are powers and responsibilities that remain at Westminster which could help us to achieve more and better jobs.
“Our ambition is for the Scottish parliament to have the full powers of any normal nation – however our particular focus in the coming years will be on achieving those powers that help us to deliver on our economic ambitions – to boost competitiveness and to tackle inequality.”