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RESILIENT SCOTLAND: PHASE TWO

The first phase of the Resilient Scotland Plan covered the period between the easing of lockdown and the 2021 Holyrood Elections.
It set out the underpinning strategy and set some emergency actions which could be taken quickly to start to rebuild the economy. This second Phase covers the period of the four-year parliamentary term following the Holyrood Elections.

It begins the economic transformation process in earnest and begins to improve the resilience of our society and democracy while tackling the environmental crises. It also begins to prepare Scotland for what comes next with an incubator for a Green New Deal. Finally, it takes Scotland as far as it can currently go under devolution and so includes developing a case for Scottish independence which can be put to Scotland in a referendum and enable those who do not support independence to explain how their own plans can be implemented.

This report proposes a range of new, focussed public agencies and bodies. This is a recognition that at crucial times of change you need bodies dedicated to a particular task if you wish to make rapid progress. However, many of these agencies can be created by adapting or merging existing bodies. This is covered in Part One of the Plan.

GREEN REINDUSTRIALISATION

Scotland should rapidly build a green manufacturing sector to create high-pay jobs, expand the domestically-owned business base and reduce Scotland’s environmental impact. We should:

  • Focus on rapid growth areas where investment pays for itself so doesn’t need subsidy – like housing, energy, forestry, food, light manufacture, advanced materials production and construction supply chains
  • Use the Scottish National Investment Bank to make the investment to grow these sectors and focus it on domestically- owned businesses so they grow their market share
  • Back this up with an industrial strategy which aims to capture not only the manufacturing but also the entire supply chains
  • The public sector should look at what it procures to identify light manufacturing opportunities in Scotland. Advanced wood and bioplastics can be used to make everything from chairs to stationary.
  • Set up a Diversification Agency to help existing businesses adapt to grasp these opportunities and to encourage new start businesses to fill supply chain gaps
  • Support all of this production by giving the businesses order book predictability by committing that public procurement will keep buying these products for many years
  • End PFI, set up a National Infrastructure Agency which is focussed on quality, fund development using the National Investment Bank and make contracts smaller so more domestic businesses get a share
  • Use a skills transition agency to train the workforce that will be required for this new economy
  • Use an Entrepreneurial State model to increase demand stimulation even further

ENTREPRENEURIAL STATE

The Scottish Government should not act like a neutral bystander to the economy but should intervene creatively where there is failure or opportunity. It should:

  • Set up a People’s Bank to create banking stability, support small business and return branch banking to customers in the many communities in Scotland which have lost their local banks
  • Focus on rapid growth areas where investment pays for itself so doesn’t need subsidy – like housing, energy, forestry, food, light manufacture, advanced materials production and construction supply chains
  • Use the Scottish National Investment Bank to make the investment to grow these
  • Create a National Energy Company in public ownership which develops all remaining renewable energy capacity in Scotland and make sure all the manufacturing takes place here
  • Set up a National Pharmaceutical Company that can produce medicines for the NHS to reduce cost and can become a manufacturing centre for the NHS for things like PPE
  • Build advanced manufacture facilities (with services such as laser-cutting or 3D printing) on which businesses can rent time rather than try to finance the entire development alone
  • Develop public distribution systems so small and medium-sized businesses no longer find themselves blocked from market access (which is monopolised by supermarkets, big retailers and online platforms like Amazon or Uber) and are able to sell directly to consumers
  • Use smart procurement to choose strategic priorities and issue tenders for a product which is not yet fully developed to push the economy to innovate

DECENTRALISATION

Economic activity and democracy are far too centralised in Scotland, harming communities and limiting innovation. Scotland must be decentralised, democratically and economically. We should:

  • Locate new industry where the resources and energy are – which is very often outside the central belt
  • Explore creating remote working hubs so economic activity is spread out from the cities and people can work closer to home

RADICAL DEMOCRACY

Moving to a new economy and achieving social resilience works when everyone has a chance to bring their skills and knowledge to the table and when government is transparent and accountable. Scotland can get better if it:

  • Moves to a participatory democracy by requiring that governments must use Citizen’s Jurys, Citizen’s Assemblies, Participatory Budgeting, Open Consultation and more
  • Strengthens and extends Freedom of Information laws
  • Ends the many loopholes in Scotland’s weak lobbying transparency laws and greatly extends its coverage
  • Creates a National Statistics Agency to provide much better data on life and work in Scotland
  • Sets up a National News Agency independent of government to provide and protect broad, accurate and balanced journalism
  • Ends the outsourcing of policy development to the private sector, instead setting up
  • an internal government consultancy unit and a series of ‘Policy Academies’ linked to universities
  • Bans the revolving door between the civil service and the private sector
  • Moves to a system of ‘person-centred data’ to improve both efficiency and privacy
  • Sets up Development Councils, local government at the town level which is focussed on creatively innovating the local area and which have power and budget
  • Lets these drive the regeneration and adaptation of towns to even out uneven economic development
  • Uses a public distribution system to support productive businesses in remoter areas to get much better market access

GREENING THE ECONOMY

Scotland needs to introduce an ambitious Green New Deal to tackle climate change and poverty. While at the moment we do not have all the powers we need to complete this, that does not mean we must not begin immediately to green the economy. Scotland should:

  • Encourage a wider range of business types including cooperatives, public and community interest companies and social enterprise which often have a greater focus on the environment
  • Set up a National Resources Agency to create a radical plan for moving to a Circular Economy, using a share-reuse-repair- remanufacture-compost-recycle model
  • Produce a national materials strategy
  • to move away from non-biodegradable materials and replace them either through reuse or with a simpler palette of biodegradable alternatives
  • Set up a National Waste Service so recycling is consistent across the country
  • Start tool libraries and explore a National Leasing Service to stimulate the ‘sharing economy’
  • Set up a National Consumer Agency to produce a compulsory labelling system for products sold in Scotland so consumers can judge their true environmental cost
  • Where possible, use regulation to level the playing field for environmentally responsible manufacturing
  • Start to set up a comprehensive national electric charging network to decarbonise transport
  • End the over-fishing of Scotland’s seas with a punitive regime of fines

FOOD

Scotland has high-quality food resources and lots of economic potential in food production but an unhealthy diet and creates a lot of food waste. We should:

  • Set up a National Food Agency to oversee the transition to a Good Food Nation strategy
  • Begin by introducing a legal Right to Food to tackle poverty-related hunger
  • Build a market access strategy for Scottish food producers, exploring collective sales platforms, public distribution networks and cooperative local food shops
  • Support that strategy by ensuring business order books by requiring a high proportion of public food procurement to be sourced locally
  • Prepare an ambitious plan for moving Scotland’s agriculture to a system of ‘agroecology’ where the environment is allowed to recover as crops are grown
  • Pilot novel growing technologies such as vertical farming to reduce our reliance on imported fruit and vegetables
  • Explore the options for creating a price framework which supports higher-quality domestic production

LAND REFORM

Much of the economic transition envisaged in this plan is driven by natural resources and land- based industries. If this is done while Scotland has such unfair patterns of land ownership it will create enormous inequality, so land reform is urgent. Scotland should:

  • Encourage a wider range of business types including cooperatives, public and community interest companies and social enterprise which often have a greater focus on the environment
  • Set up a National Resources Agency to create a radical plan for moving to a Circular Economy, using a share-reuse-repair- remanufacture-compost-recycle model
  • Produce a national materials strategy
  • to move away from non-biodegradable materials and replace them either through reuse or with a simpler palette of biodegradable alternatives
  • Set up a National Waste Service so recycling is consistent across the country
  • Start tool libraries and explore a National Leasing Service to stimulate the ‘sharing economy’
  • Set up a National Consumer Agency to produce a compulsory labelling system for products sold in Scotland so consumers can judge their true environmental cost
  • Where possible, use regulation to level the playing field for environmentally responsible manufacturing
  • Start to set up a comprehensive national electric charging network to decarbonise transport
  • End the over-fishing of Scotland’s seas with a punitive regime of fines
  • Set a target 50 per cent of Scotland’s land being developed as forestry (or rewilded)
  • Replace the Council Tax with a Property Tax based on the value of property (including land) to make the tax fairer and to incentive the productive use of land
  • Introduce a system of land planning to require that land owners use land productively
  • Set maximum lot sale sizes when land is sold, to break up the size of holdings
  • Set stronger environmental standards for the management of land and police those standards properly
  • Use Compulsory Sales Orders and Compulsory Purchase Orders to free up land for forestry and energy development
  • Establish a National Land Agency to develop this land as high-quality forestry
  • Sell the developed land on in smaller plots to citizens who can hold them as investments, thus creating a highly-diverse ownership of Scotland’s land

WELLBEING AND CITIZENSHIP

Post-virus Scotland must remember that wellbeing comes first and that citizenship and participation is essential to a resilient society. Scotland should:

  • Replace GDP as the primary measure of national success and instead use a balanced set of measures produced to reflect the hopes of Scotland’s citizens for their economy and society
  • Follow a nation strategy of deconsumerisation to reduce our dependence on the constantly-increasing consumption which harms the environment and people’s mental health
  • Reduce the volume of advertising people are exposed to and take a more restrictive view of ‘accuracy’ in advertising
  • Build a national strategy for participation and citizenship – starting with participatory local democracy and investment in great public infrastructure
  • Introduce civics lessons in schools so the next generation better understands their society and democracy
  • Use empty retail capacity to build shared social spaces where people can get access to resources to help them pursue interests and hobbies

TOWNS, RURAL AND COASTAL

Scotland’s economy is designed from the cities outwards – and this often doesn’t get far beyond the cities. We need a proper plan for towns, rural areas and coastal Scotland. We should:

  • Move quickly on reform of local democracy and implement the decentralisation agenda
  • Take an asset-based development approach to towns and, with a ‘use it
  • or lose it’ law for empty commercial properties or vacant land, match social and community need to available assets
  • Improve transport links by setting up a National Transport Company, taking trains and busses into public ownership
  • Produce a full industrial strategy for rural Scotland based on the development of natural resources set out in this plan, with the colocation of manufacturing and energy resources
  • Produce a full industrial strategy for coastal Scotland, particularly based on major fishing reform with a ‘Community Right to Quotas’ model and plans to support new processing capacity in smaller ports
  • Set the firm target that all fish caught in Scotland should be landed in Scotland

GREEN NEW DEAL INCUBATOR

Scotland needs to introduce an ambitious Green New Deal to tackle the environmental crises
we face. The work in this phase of the Plan will achieve much, but Scotland doesn’t have the power to complete what needs to be done. However, it can develop a Green New Deal to a shovel-ready stage. We should:

  • Set up a National Housing Company to create a plan for a universal insulation programme, including surveying, workforce development and supply chain creation
  • Set up a Scottish Energy Development Agency to plan for the enormous task of decarbonising electricity and heating, including plans for a district heating system for much of Scotland
  • Task the National Transport Company to extend the plan for transport decarbonisation beyond the core charging infrastructure stage and prepare it for implementation
  • Finish a blueprint for the shift to agroecology which will have been begun but the difficulty of which should not be underestimated

INDEPENDENCE

By this stage Scotland will be close to having exhausted what is possible under devolution. To give people a choice they can be confident about making, Scotland needs a detailed plan not only for why independence can accelerate the transition which has been begun but for exactly how independence will be implemented. The Scottish Government should:

  • Set up a National Commission to develop a full plan for Scottish independence
  • Put that plan to the people of Scotland in a referendum not later than year three of the next parliamentary session
  • Invite those who support this approach but do not support independence to outline their own plans to inform the constitutional debate.

 

Part Three of this report will cover the 20 years it will take to complete a Green New Deal

Photo of a Highland cow from the cover of Resilient Scotland Part Two Summary