We set out proposals for a wide range of strategies to boost and strengthen Scotland’s industrial base.

Illustration shows a pople working on different stages of the production of bird houses. All figures are working outside:  A person carrying a sawn tree, while others nearby make and paint bird boxes and someone installs them in the trees.

Some COmmon Weal Reports on Industry

An Investment-led Development Framework for an independence Scotland↗

The economy should serve society, not the other way around. Success should be measured on the economy’s capacity to deliver, not merely how fast it’s growing.

Towards and industrial policy for Scotland↗

A framework for a mutual, sectoral model of industrial development that rejects top down planning and free market approaches.

The Circular Economy Bill 

The Green New Deal means transitioning from an extractive, linear economy to a Circular one. this will have profound impacts on every level of industry and economy.

Scotwind: One year On 

ScotWind promised to deliver Scotland a new renewables industry. This report shows how failures in the negotiations have led to the risk of that promise being broken.

Building Scotland’s Future Now↗

Our model for funding public infrastructure projects without PPP schemes by using a Scottish National Investment Bank and a Scottish National Infrastructure Company (since writing this paper, we won the case for the creation of both).

Scotland deserves a boost to its industries. Productive investment has helped this business owner grow an untapped Scottish industry

Read as Martin the owner of a timber merchant talks us through his thoughts on the changes to the Scottish industry since independence. Through the eyes of a fictional character Common Weal shows how independence could boost our industries by making them more stable and secure, while giving a new lease of life to industries such as timber harvesting by using new technologies.

Martin’s Story

Hello my name is Martin I’m the owner of Foyers Timber Merchants, welcome to our Sawmill here in Dumfries.

I won’t lie the aftermath of the Covid 19 Pandemic – now years ago -hit us hard. The boom in home improvement meant our mill was going strong for a while. Customers were spending more time in their garden thinking ‘I want to build a trellis or a new fence’, So products went flying off the shelves. When demand fell away we kept on hoping it would pick up. 

It was at that time we realised the industry was being led in a very reactive way. When there is a shortage of construction timber. We are told demand will go up, but when the markets stay weak we have to reduce the inventory in the yards.

Jobs are on the line when industry is based purely around speculation like that. We have 80 people operational at this site, back then we were running at two thirds capacity. Hannah for example works in the control cabin, she lost her overtime shifts. luckily she hung in there but I had some really strong people leave as a result. 

Fortunately the Scottish Government set out a stronger industrial plan, they stepped in and brought businesses into the conversation. 

After many slow years the eco-friendly strategy to build more houses out of timber is finally in full swing. Now we aren’t having to gauge the season and the signals of the market because we’re not just supplying garden centres but also the National Housing Company. They have a constant demand that we can help fill no matter the season. We had to adapt, all of us sawmills out there had to. 

It was surprising what we could achieve. Together with Industry Sector Councils we got contracts to create new products. Now we put out the highest standard specification of construction materials, we use new technologies so we can reach certain strength classes of timber. 

Our Business also partnered with the government to get better transport. It was previously dire in this part of South West Scotland, it means supply chains have eased. But it also meant we could bring in skilled workers across the region who can commute-hassle free.

Our forests were always harvested sustainably, but what that meant before was just a badge on our website, now it’s that we’re part of a sustainable plan of Scotland to decarbonise. 

Although Martin’s story is fictional Scotland could have the ability to create secure and thriving industries with sound investment. So how can we move closer to this horizon? We have a plan to get Scotland #Sorted head to the link to explore more ideas surrounding this.

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