In his article “Scotland’s growth requires more” (5 March), Bill Jamieson writes that tackling inequality does not in itself “create growth, investment, jobs and wealth”. However, while of course economic growth depends on a number of factors, Oxfam’s recent report – Even It Up – makes it clear extremes of inequality are, in fact, bad for growth. Detailed research by the International Monetary Fund showed that lower inequality is associated with faster and more durable growth.
Alongside this, evidence suggests the benefits of growth have increasingly accrued to the richest members of society. Growth of this sort is not good for society in general, let alone the poorest members. Extreme inequality is also a major contributing factor to a wide range of social problems.
Far from talking more to business before publishing its new economic strategy, as suggested by Mr Jamieson, the Scottish Government should boost genuine engagement with those living in poverty.
We are confident this would further encourage the shift from a narrow focus on economic growth. The Scottish Government should measure the success of its strategy on the quality of growth, including the distribution of its benefits, and on its ability to generate secure and well paid jobs.
Head of Oxfam Scotland