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Economic growth focus of budget

Published: 13 Dec 2017 09:25

First Minister addresses National Economic Forum.

Innovation and economic growth will be the focus of this week’s budget, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

Addressing the 19th National Economic Forum in Edinburgh, she set out key areas the Scottish Government is investing in to help Scotland lead technological change and drive economic growth including:

  • Increased spending on business research and development by 70% - from £22 million a year to £37 million a year
  • A commitment of almost £90 million to the oil and gas technology centre over the next ten years
  • Investing an additional £48 million in a new National Manufacturing Institute near Paisley
  • The creation of a National Investment Bank

The First Minister said:

“At present, our block grant for day to day expenditure is decreasing, but the need for investment is growing.

“By setting clear ambitions, we believe we can encourage investment and innovation in technologies where we already have strengths, and for which there will be a global demand.

“The ability to help people to contribute to the economy is central to our thinking. We know that we need to ensure taxes are competitive. But we also need to invest in the infrastructure, the research and development, and the capacity for innovation that this country will need in the future.

“That’s the balance that we are looking to strike – in tomorrow’s budget, and well into the future. The interests of businesses, and the importance of economic growth, have been central in every stage of our thinking and they will continue to be central as we implement the budget.”

Background

Ministers attending NEF are the First Minister; Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work; Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy; Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform; Minister for Transport and the Islands; Minister for UK negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe; Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs; Minister for Employability and Training and Minister for International Development and Europe.

 Approximately 150 delegates attend the conference, including business representatives, trade unions and academics.