Investment in Scotland: A Common Weal Approach

Overview —

Future governments of Scotland should reintroduce the principle of investing for societal goals, challenge the failed policies of austerity and wrest monetary policy from the financial sector. These are prerequisites for a socially just and prosperous Scotland.


Christine Cooper
Iain Cairns
Gordon Morgan

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Although investment can mean different things in different contexts, this paper is solely concerned with the process of allocating, lending or spending money on projects in such a way as to provide tangible economic, social and environmental benefits and which should provide a return on that money in future years.

We challenge the myth spread by both the UK Government and the EU that government debt levels are a barrier to governments spending more on capital projects, that austerity and cutbacks in spending are necessary and that investment is best left to the private sector.


― Taking a look at UK debt over the long-term shows that it is historically at a very low level. It is also incorrect to claim that we cannot afford the interest on debt.

― The reality is that there has rarely been a more favourable time for the UK Government to borrow in order to invest in renewing its infrastructure and fostering new industries.

― It is testament to the outright failure of the Thatcherite project – the deregulation and privatisation of much of the UK economy and the increasing emphasis placed on the financial sector – that the UK’s growth has declined every decade since the former Prime Minister began the process in the 1980s.

― The case of Private Finance Initiatives (PFI), which has dominated infrastructure investment since the 1990s, exemplifies how private finance provides poor value for money.

― The financial system in the UK, which by its nature, distributes wealth from the productive economy to the financial sector from the indebted poor to the wealthy shareholders of banks and from regions to financial centres, is not capable of delivering the kinds of economic and social outcomes people have a right to demand.

― Investment is what the UK lacks, not money.

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