Scottish Enterprise Welcomes COVID-19 Economic Recovery Report

A report by an independent group of experts looking at future economic growth in response to the coronavirus pandemic has been welcomed by Scottish Enterprise.

The Advisory Group on Economic Recovery (AGER) was tasked by the Scottish Government to recommend solutions to ensure a transition towards a greener, inclusive and wellbeing economy, and to advise on measures to address challenges Scotland will face as a result of COVID-19.

Amongst 25 recommendations included in AGER’s report was for the Scottish Government and its partner agencies to ensure a “strong and bold prospectus on Scotland and on available investment opportunities.”  Attracting businesses to invest in Scotland, and in turn stimulating trade in international markets, retained a “critical role in shaping Scotland’s economy of the future”.

Chaired by Benny Higgins, AGER’s report said there was “scope to gear-up [Scotland’s] internationalisation agenda” by:

  • Galvanising its international efforts around key areas where it has real strengths, and can make a difference to solving complex global issues;
  • Proactively seeking out inward investors who share our vision of the future, and;
  • Delivering a market focus, with effective deployment of resources in world markets

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: “AGER’s report underlines the collaborative response required to allow Scotland to transition to a greener economy that has inclusiveness and wellbeing at its centre.

“As the report correctly states, Scotland needs to focus on its strengths as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.  One of these strengths is the internationalisation of our economy.  Scotland continues to be the most attractive destination in the UK for inward investment outside of London, while our international exports have increased by more than 60% over the past 11 years.

“We know the environment for international trade and investment will be challenging due to COVID-19.  However, foreign direct investment (FDI) levels remain stable in Scotland’s priority areas where we excel, such as advanced manufacturing and low-carbon technologies.  Future opportunities will also emerge in our target markets and we need to be ready for them.

“Scotland remains an extraordinary proposition for global companies to invest in.  Our unique products and services are recognised across the world for their quality.  As the world adapts to a ‘new-normal’ and a more values-based approach to delivering economic prosperity, Scotland’s enhanced commitment to a wellbeing economy will come to the fore.”

The AGER report comes as Scotland’s strength in attracting inward investment was again underlined in the EY UK Attractiveness Report for Financial Services 2020, which was also published today.  The report revealed that Scotland increased its share of financial services FDI in 2019.

This increase ensured Scotland was the most attractive location in the UK outside of London for financial services FDI in 2019 for the seventh consecutive year.

Last month, EY Scotland’s Attractiveness Survey 2020 showed Scotland increased inward investment at a faster pace than the UK as a whole, both in terms of number and share of UK projects.

EY Scotland’s survey supports SDI figures published in January that showed in 2018/19, more than 10,000 planned jobs had been generated by FDI projects into Scotland – an increase of 18% compared with the previous financial year.

And in January, Export Scotland Statistics revealed that Scotland’s international exports (excluding oil and gas) increased by £1.1 billion (3.4%) to £33.8 billion in 2018.  Exports to the rest of the UK also increased by £1.2 billion (up 2.5% on 2017), bringing the total value of Scottish exports up to £85 billion.