Nicola Sturgeon calls for productivity gap action

Nicola Sturgeon has called for action on the productivity gap. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Nicola Sturgeon has called for action on the productivity gap. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

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FAILURE to address Scotland’s relatively poor productivity could cost 11,000 jobs and £400 million in taxes by 2025, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned.

Scotland has a long-standing gap in productivity - the measure of the amount of goods and services created - between the rest of the UK and is a long way behind European competitors, Ms Sturgeon said.

She told business leaders Scotland faces “deep-seated challenges”, particularly in the oil and gas sector, in an address to a Business in Parliament conference at Holyrood.

She said: “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.

“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.

“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.

“So, productivity really matters and that’s why we have put measures which are seeking to promote productivity right at the heart of our economic strategy.

“The economic strategy which we published earlier this year is based on what we are calling the four Is.

“The whole policy is based on supporting innovation, internationalisation, investment in infrastructure and skills and promoting inclusive growth.

“We are seeking in everything we do to support you (business leaders) 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.”

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