This morning in Arran, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a “new leadership group” aimed at increasing employee ownership in Scotland. It’s a direction the Scottish Labour party approve of – but we need to see a much more radical approach than just another quango.
Scottish Labour’s industrial strategy recognises the central importance of employee ownership as part of our plan for economic growth. Scotland’s economy should be run for the good of the Scottish people, not to simply line the pockets of absentee shareholders.
We need to look at who owns the Scottish economy and why we are so vulnerable to external shocks – and why so much wealth leaks out from our country.
Too much of our economy is foreign owned, liable to the whims of the balance sheet with no regard given to the impact closures can have on communities.
The SNP’s cuts commission – the real long-term plan the nationalists have for the Scottish economy – proposes more foreign investment and ownership. This is a model which leaves Scotland vulnerable to global shocks rather than the solid foundations of an economy where working people have a real say.
READ MORE: Scots worker-owned firms are the future
So we need to build the economy from the root up, which is why Labour’s plans for a Scottish Marcora Law, would give workers the preferential right to buy a business when it is put up for sale or facing closure.
Because working people, the creators of wealth, should have the opportunity to own the wealth that they create.
A Scottish Marcora Law would give workers the opportunity to take back control of their workplace, allowing for greater accountability of decision making and investment.
Developing these new forms of ownership can also address the failures of privatisation and lead to greater long-term planning, for example, helping to deal with the significant rise in automation and ensure that technological change works in the interests of, rather than punishes, working people.
The hollowing out of BiFab shows that we cannot carry on with business as usual.
It is not enough for government to lurch from one defensive rescue to the next.
Democracy in our economy won’t just help when things go wrong, but will ensure things go right in the first place.
Labour’s industrial strategy will deliver a new approach to long-term investment by unleashing innovation and the ingenuity of working people we can herald a renaissance in Scottish industry.
When we say we want an economy run for the many, not the privileged few, this is what we mean – our workers at the heart of economic growth, and giving them the power to take back control.
Jackie Baillie MSP is Scottish Labour’s economy spokesperson