Campaigners sign letter calling on Humza Yousaf to take action on 'wellbeing economy'

First Minister Humza Yousaf. Image: Pat Ellis/Press Association.First Minister Humza Yousaf. Image: Pat Ellis/Press Association.
First Minister Humza Yousaf. Image: Pat Ellis/Press Association.
They are calling for the Scottish Government to use devolved tax powers to spread wealth

More than 200 charities, unions, academics and campaigners have signed a letter to Humza Yousaf calling for action on the implementation of a wellbeing economy.

The First Minister appointed key ally Neil Gray to the post of Wellbeing Economy Secretary earlier this year, prioritising the shift away from gauging prosperity using traditional economic measures such as GDP.

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The open letter – arranged by Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland – calls for the Scottish Government to use devolved tax powers to spread wealth, invest further in social security, universal basic services, pay for public sector workers and environmental improvements.

Scotland’s National Performance Framework, the campaigners say, should also be re-purposed to track wellbeing.

The statement, signed by the heads of the STUC and the Poverty Alliance and Wellbeing Economy Professor Gerry McCartney, reads: “Scotland is a rich country, yet wealth inequality is rising at the same time as one in four children is growing up in poverty.

“Economic exclusion and inequality on the lines of gender, race, disability, social class, sexual orientation, and other forms of marginalisation remains stark.

“And we continue to put more pressure on the environment than the planet can sustain or our climate legislation requires.

“Despite efforts to date, we are on track to miss our child poverty targets, and climate targets have been missed eight years out of 12. Our economy is not delivering for our collective wellbeing.”

While the letter says the group is “encouraged” by the creation of Mr Gray’s role, it adds: “We are concerned by the lack of substantive progress in redesigning our economy.

“We need a robust plan to put the wellbeing of people and nature at the heart of our economy. We have run out of time for talk, what we need now is action.”

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A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “The Scottish Government is taking forward a range of policies to progress a wellbeing economy for Scotland – including on fair work, just transition, and community wealth building.

“We are also working internationally through the wellbeing economy governments group to share best practice in how to deliver this change.

“We have also set up a wellbeing economy expert group to advise on progress.

“It is clear a system-wide approach is needed to reduce inequality and poverty, restore nature and make progress towards our climate targets.

“This requires partnership and our engagement with business, trade unions and other partners is crucial.

“The New Deal for Business Group (NDBG) has submitted its report to the First Minister with recommendations on how business and Government can work more effectively together in the transition to a wellbeing economy.

“An implementation plan will be developed to make progress on the NDBG recommendations over the next 12-18 months.”

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