Scotland’s national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise has unveiled ambitious new plans to accelerate the country’s green economic recovery.

The agency, which has been central to getting emergency support to Scottish businesses during the pandemic, is to spend £400 million over the next year on activities to safeguard and create jobs for communities across Scotland.

With recent economic statistics confirming Scotland’s economy may not return to pre-pandemic levels until early 2024, the agency’s focus is to build on signs of recovery and accelerate growth for Scotland.

Underlining a strong commitment to green and fair growth, the plan confirms that going forward,  businesses will be required to demonstrate their commitment to net zero and fair work as part of accessing Scottish Enterprise support.

Linda Hanna, interim chief executive of Scottish Enterprise added: “There is no doubt that the events of the past year have created significant challenges for our economy.  Alongside our partners, we’ve been working hard to respond to the needs of Scottish businesses, while at the same time, focusing on the long-term goals of a greener and fairer successful Scottish economy.

“As we continue to feel the impact from the pandemic and Brexit, Scotland’s unemployment levels are expected to rise.  That’s why our plan for the year focuses on working with businesses and industry to safeguard and create jobs.  Good jobs, green jobs and jobs that can improve the health and wealth of the nation simultaneously.”

Key measures to be delivered in the coming year include:

  • Up to 10,500 planned jobs paying at least the real living wage, including green jobs 
  • Up to £425m planned R&D investment by businesses/projects 
  • Up to £360m planned capital investment by businesses/projects 
  • Up to £230m growth funding raised by businesses 
  • Up to 1bn planned international exports 
  • Up to 240k tonnes estimated CO2 savings by businesses/projects  

Linda added: “Jobs for the future are equally as important as those for today. We have an opportunity to reshape our economy so that post-pandemic Scotland flourishes with industries that are globally competitive and sustainable for generations to come.

“Our plan aims to help harness the economic potential of digital, net zero, health and advanced manufacturing and we will be doing all we can to maximise opportunities like COP26, both in terms of accelerating our transition to a net zero economy and in opening up global market opportunities for Scottish businesses.

“We know there are challenging times ahead.  Scotland’s economy may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 but now is the time to look to the future with hope and ambition as we grow a fairer, greener Scotland for all.”