Promoting inclusion and innovation while tackling poverty are at the heart of the City of Edinburgh Council’s five year Economy Strategy, approved by the Housing and Economy Committee on Friday, 8 June 2018.
The strategy recognises that although Edinburgh remains the second most prosperous UK city outside London, jobs growth alone has not been sufficient to tackle poverty and deliver sustained improvements in living standards for everyone.
Consultation carried out with all political parties and businesses, as well as local communities and the third sector, revealed a consensus of opinion that Edinburgh’s economy should aim to create jobs and inspire innovation but that it should also do much more to ensure that the benefits of that prosperity are accessible to all residents across the city.
The Strategy has been created around three themes – innovation, inclusion and collaboration and includes eight steps with actions plans to achieve this. The Council will now work with the public, private and third sectors in the city work to deliver the strategy to fully exploit the opportunities to promote, advance and sustain good growth practices.
It also fits in well with the most recent Scottish Government Economic Strategy and UK Industrial Strategy both of which have placed increasing emphasis on the need for inclusive growth in Edinburgh.
Locally, the strategy represents one of the first major practical steps towards achieving the City Vision for 2050 that the Council has been developing with contributions from people across the city since September 2016.
Cllr Kate Campbell, Housing and Economy Convener, said:
Every aspect of our Strategy has inclusion at its core. This is an important shift in the focus of our work and will help to ensure that all growth is accessible to everyone.
When developing jobs and scaling up businesses we must make sure that all of our residents have access to opportunities being provided. We’ll also support socially responsible business wherever we can.
We need to grow our economy so that it is fairer in terms of wages, working practices, access to housing, education and good careers.
Our economy has shown great resilience during tough economic times but we need to take action to address why there are still people living in Edinburgh who are not sharing in this prosperity. We are leading by example by embedding sustainable procurement within the Council ensuring that social, environmental and economic benefits are maximised.
Cllr Lezley Marion Cameron, Vice Convener of the Housing and Economy Committee, said:
Our Economy Strategy for Edinburgh seeks to reduce unemployment, precarious work and poverty. Our clear ambition is to increase the number of high quality and higher income jobs, while providing certainty and security in housing and employment.
Education, training and employment opportunities must become available and fully accessible to all of our citizens.
As Scotland’s capital, it is vital that our city is both Brexit ready and resilient and that Edinburgh has a shared plan to remain globally competitive, addressing current and known future skills shortages across various key sectors including construction, health services, hospitality, financial services, tourism, education and research and development.
Hugh Rutherford, Chair of the Edinburgh Business Forum, said:
To stay ahead of our global competitors, Edinburgh needs a laser focus on our world leading sectors – financial services, tech, life sciences, creative industries and tourism. But we need more than sectoral growth – we need responsible and sustainable ‘good growth’, making sure everyone benefits in a way that’s not happened before. Crucial to the success of this will be the private sector, all levels of education, and the third and public sectors working together to achieve this common goal.
Ella Simpson, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council, said:
I am pleased the Strategy explicitly acknowledges poverty and inequality in the City and highlights actions which aim to reduce the impact on people’s lives. The strategy needs to recognise the existing communities and people as the bedrock for fair growth in the city and it is important that we provide support to business, from all sectors, to be the best employers they can be.
The Strategy’s eight steps, which all have their own actions plans.
- Deliver new approaches to tackling the barriers that reinforce worklessness, poverty and inequality
- Reform Edinburgh’s skills landscape to meet the needs of our changing economy
- Support Edinburgh’s transition to a low carbon economy
- Establish Edinburgh as Scotland’s leading city for fair work practices and socially responsible business
- Enhance Edinburgh’s position as the UK’s most entrepreneurial city
- Establish Edinburgh as the data capital of Europe
- Build on the success of our world leading culture and tourism sectors
- Deliver world class places fit to power good growth in Edinburgh