2. What we want for the South of Scotland
2.1. We know that our vision for the economy of the South of Scotland has to reflect what the businesses and people of the area tell us. We want the South of Scotland to drive forward its own future, a future created in the South, of the South and for the South. By engaging in this consultation you can tell us what you want to see happen and what the Agency could do.
2.2. Across Scotland, our central purpose has been to create a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. To deliver that our economic strategy focuses on four priorities:
- investing in our people and infrastructure in a sustainable way;
- fostering a culture of innovation and research and development;
- promoting inclusive growth and creating opportunities through a fair and inclusive jobs market and regional cohesion; and
- promoting Scotland on the international stage to boost trade and investment, influence and networks.
2.3. Those four priorities are relevant to the South of Scotland and we want to ensure that people across the area enjoy the benefits of inclusive growth. The area has many natural advantages which make it attractive for residents, visitors and those looking to locate to the area. It is strategically well placed with major road and rail links. It has significant land assets and energy resources. It has active further and higher education sectors operating across the area. It has growing businesses, which are innovative and world-leading.
2.4. We want to encourage innovation, ambition and creativity in the South and stimulate an international, outward-looking perspective. We want to support those sectors that are important to the area's economic success and which contribute to Scotland's prosperity. We want to ensure people have the skills to succeed now and to make the most of future opportunities, harnessing the potential of generations to generate wealth for all. We want to respond to the potential and needs of the diverse and various communities, weaving a strong fabric for the future. We know that the Agency needs to understand the assets and opportunities of the South, to make informed decisions and to act differently to address exclusion and assist growth. But do you agree?
2.5. So our ambition for the future of the South of Scotland is one which has:
- businesses with increased productivity, ambitious for the future, investing in innovation and offering good conditions of employment paying higher wages;
- a skilled workforce with both the skills needed now, and the ability to develop the skills needed for the future;
- more opportunities for young people so that they can see a future in the area, and to attract people who want to locate in the area;
- communities better equipped to play a greater role in the economic, social and environmental success of their area; and
- a clear commitment to inclusive growth, taking a holistic look at the barriers that are getting in the way and taking action to address them.
Question 1: Do you agree with our ambition outlined above?
Question 2: What would you like to see for the South of Scotland?