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27 December 2012
Embargo: None


SCDI Chief Executive, Professor Lesley Sawers said:

“The last twelve months, much like the whole period since the global credit crunch began in 2008, has been characterised by an ongoing period of very weak economic output. 2013 must be the year where economic growth takes priority.

“Across Scotland, inflation is above Bank of England targets, housing markets are depressed, almost one in four young people looking for jobs are failing to find employment and the economy is stubbornly refusing to grow.

“Recent announcements in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will deliver additional capital resources to the Scottish Government. These infrastructure funds will help to deliver a short term stimulus during the construction phase and create assets with a long-term economic benefit. However Scotland’s export ambitions continue to suffer from uncertainties in the economies of our biggest single market, the EU, and our biggest country market, the US, which their leaders must address in 2013. In this context, we need to sharpen our focus still further to take advantage of each and every opportunity in the global marketplace. We will need accelerated growth in exports in 2013 if we're going to achieve the target of a 50% increase by 2017.

“2013 must be characterised as the year when Scotland's civic, business and political leaders come together to develop and deliver a targeted plan for a return to long-term and sustainable economic growth.

“Delivering this ambition requires two crucial actions. The first is to ensure that economic growth remains the top priority of Scotland’s leaders and policy-makers, driven forward across all decision-making at a local, regional and national level. This will ensure decision-making and policy analysis are geared towards making the best possible economic interventions and delivering long-term growth. Scotland needs to make sure its voice is heard in the debates on aviation and high-speed rail to deliver the connectivity our companies need. Scottish businesses and organisations will need to make their views known on their economic and trade priorities with the EU, both as part of the independence debate and as part of the debate on the UK's relationship with and membership of the EU.

“The second essential action is for Scotland to come together to achieve economic growth. This requires all parties in all parliaments to work in collaboration and partnership with business and civic Scotland to develop and implement a wide ranging action plan for growth – building our exports, raising our skills levels, creating world-leading innovations and tackling youth unemployment – to deliver the vision for a vibrant and confident Scotland that we all share.

“Working together to deliver economic growth in 2013 will develop the foundations for a constructive, honest and healthy debate on our constitutional future the year later. This will ensure that whatever happens in the referendum, the process will create a Scotland with a vision and a plan for a prosperous future, not a polarised, divided and economically damaged society.”

Note to editors

SCDI is Scotland's leading independent economic development organisation
representing 1,200 companies, SMEs, public sector bodies, charities, trade unions and
faith groups.

For further information, please contact James Alexander, SCDI Policy and
Communications Manager on 0141 222 9728 or 07762 023 985.


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