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Increased digitalisation to boost economy

Published: 10 Dec 2015 00:01

Report outlines potential benefits of digitalisation.

Increased digitalisation could boost the Scottish economy by up to £13 billion according to a Deloitte report commissioned by the Scottish Futures Trust.

Highlighting the potential economic and social benefits of increased digitalisation, the report concludes that, if Scotland were to become a world leader in digitalisation, Scotland could see an increase in GDP of over £13 billion. This compares to an increase of £4 billion if Scotland were to experience only incremental improvements on current digitalisation rates by 2030.

Increased digitalisation and penetration across Scotland would also have a direct impact on improving productivity, business creation, jobs and earning levels, exports and tax revenues.

The report also assess a range of social benefits, focusing in particular on the impacts of digitalisation on health and education outcomes.

Welcoming the report, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

"We welcome this report, which shows the incredible potential of increased digitalisation to Scotland. The report outlines that if Scotland were to become a world leader, the nation could not only see a significant increase in GDP, but also the creation of nearly 6,000 new small-medium sized enterprises (SME) and small office/home office enterprises (SOHO); and an extra 175,000 jobs by 2020.

"Across all scenarios outlined in the report, businesses and individuals benefit from enhanced digitalisation. As well as having the potential to generate significant economic benefits, increased digital capabilities could also have a positive impact on the provision of health, education and social inclusion.

"On health, increased use of telemedicine, as well as the use of digital technology to improve health literacy, could save significant numbers of lives by 2030. On education, enhanced digital capabilities enables access to knowledge sharing and resources. On social inclusion, digital technologies help individuals, businesses and communities connect and share experiences.

"Scotland is already making good progress in digitalisation. We are driving the £410 million roll out of superfast broadband across Scotland, supporting businesses and individuals to get online, and working to ensure our people have the right skills to both get online and make a career in the digital sector. This report demonstrates the economic impacts of this activity, but also offers a sense of the potential of reaching above and beyond this."

Tony Rose, infrastructure director at the Scottish Future Trust, explained: "As our lives become ever more reliant on digital communications, it's vital that Scotland has the proper infrastructure in the right place to harness the huge economic and social benefits that improved digital communications will bring.

"The report highlights the potential impact that improved digitisation could bring to consumers, businesses and the public sector. We, along with our partners, are looking to 'future proof' our investment in digital infrastructure to enable Scotland to fulfil its ambition of being a world class digital nation."

Notes to editors

The report has been prepared by Deloitte for Scottish Futures Trust solely for the purpose of estimating the economic impacts of different scenarios of enhanced digitalisation on Scotland.

Digitalisation is the process in which individuals and companies make increased usage of digital infrastructure and technologies.

Scotland is already making good progress in digitalisation. This includes;

  • Alongside our partners, the Scottish Government is investing over £410 million in the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project which will extend fibre infrastructure to at least 95% of premises across Scotland by end 2017.
  • As part of our wider digital strategy, we have programmes to support businesses get online; to increasingly deliver digital public services; and to ensure that people have the skills they need, both to get online and to make a career in the digital sector.
  • We are supporting CodeClan, the digital skills academy launched by the Deputy First Minister in October, and have launched a multi-media marketing campaign designed to encourage more young people to develop the relevant skills and pursue careers in digital roles.

A report for the Scottish Futures Trust: The Economic and Social Impact of Enhanced digitalisation in Scotland, can be found here:

http://www.scottishfuturestrust.org.uk/files/publications/Impact_of_digitalisation_in_Scotland.pdf