Sturgeon Calls on Scottish Businesses to Boost Jobs by Improving Productivity

October 30, 2015

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has called on businesses around the country to improve their productivity in order to boost the number of jobs on offer throughout the economy.

According to Sturgeon, Scotland is well behind the UK as a whole and the rest of Europe in terms of how productively it generates goods and provides services.

“Although we have come an awful long way towards closing the long-standing productivity gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK, we still lag a long way behind many of our key European competitors,” she told attendees at a recent Business in Parliament conference in Edinburgh.

“That really matters, because we know if we were to increase Scotland’s total productivity by just 0.1 per cent every year we would boost our GDP by 1.3 per cent,” she said.

“To put that into figures that make more sense for people, that means we would boost employment after 10 years by 11,000 and tax revenue by £400 million.”

The first minister singled out Scotland’s troubled oil and gas sector as one in which there are particularly “deep-seated challenges” in relation to productivity.

Sturgeon said that the Scottish government will be aiming to improve productivity rates within all parts of the national economy in years to come by focussing on “supporting innovation, internationalisation, investment in infrastructure and skills and promoting inclusive growth”.

Addressing an audience made up largely of business leaders, she said: “We are seeking in everything we do to support you to create a more competitive, more innovative and more highly-skilled economy where growth is stronger and is more sustainable because our approach to inclusive growth will share the benefits of that much more widely.”

Earlier this month, a parliamentary committee in Dundee was told by the video games entrepreneur Chris Van Der Kuyl that, with the right support, his industry could develop so strongly in Scotland in the coming decades as to “make North Sea Oil look like a drop in the ocean”.

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