New inward investment plan aims to further internationalise Scotland's economy



A new targeted inward investment plan that aims to further internationalise Scotland’s economy has been launched.

The new Scottish Government plan would see effort focused on nine areas of opportunity in what was described as a fundamental shift of approach.

The plan claims these are areas in which Scotland has global strengths and which are also likely to be among the most resilient to the impact of coronavirus.

The areas include energy transition, health technology, the space sector and digital financial and business services.

The Scottish Government said that priority will be given to investors who can build local supply chains, provide new skills and invest in research.

There would be an emphasis on the creation of regional clusters to encourage the spread of investment across Scotland.

The Scottish Government will focus resource on strategic investments, aiming ultimately to allocate up to £20m a year.

It said that it was estimated the plan would have the potential to increase GDP by £4.2bn, boost exports by £2.1bn over the next two decades and add up to £680m a year to government revenues.

The revised approach seeks to deliver 100,000 jobs over the next decade.

Unveiling Shaping Scotland’s Economy: Scotland’s Inward Investment Plan in parliament today, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee said: “For the last seven years Scotland has attracted the most inward investment of any UK nation or region outside London. The time is right to build on these strong foundations.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for greater resilience in our economy and to build back better. Scotland’s Inward Investment Plan therefore represents a fundamental shift in focus.

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“Our robust analytical approach has identified nine opportunity areas where Scotland’s genuine global strengths, often built on our academic excellence, align with global investment opportunities and offer the most potential to maximise economic benefits across the nation.

“We will build regional clusters of expertise around specific strengths, making Scotland a more attractive proposition for potential investors and ensuring all parts of the country benefit.

“I am acutely aware that I am launching this plan at a time of huge uncertainty, with COVID-19 continuing to inflict economic harm.

“We also face Brexit at the end of the year and whether it is no deal or a bad deal, all the analysis shows that it will harm many key parts of Scotland’s economy.

“Now, more than ever, we need to have a plan in place for inward investment that targets effort and resource strategically to shape Scotland’s economy for the future.”

The nine areas of opportunity identified in the plan are energy transition, decarbonisation of transport, food and drink innovation, software and IT, digital financial services, digital business services, space, health technology and the transformation of chemical industries.

In 2018, inward investors were responsible for 34% of employment in Scotland (624,000 jobs), 50% of turnover (£119.6 billion) and 77% of exports (£24.2 billion).

In May 2020, Scotland was named as the UK’s top destination outside of London for foreign direct investment in the EY Attractiveness Survey. It is the seventh consecutive year that Scotland has held this position.

Mark Hallan, director of Global Investment at Scottish Development International (SDI), said:

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“This report underlines the importance of inward investment to Scotland’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

“The sectors identified within the report for targeted growth are industries where Scotland excels, such as energy transition, space and digital financial services.

“While the pandemic has undoubtedly impacted inward investment, these sectors have proven to be the most resilient to COVID-19.

“Future growth is also expected in these sectors over the coming years, so we have an incredible opportunity to position Scotland as the global destination for inward investment, delivering sustainable economic opportunities for all of our communities in the process.

“It is now up to all of us with a stake in Scotland’s economy to work collaboratively and deliver these inward investment opportunities that meet our country’s values and principles, namely wellbeing, net-zero and inclusivity.

“SDI looks forward to working with our partners and playing our part to realise the ambitions of this report.”



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