Mike Vickers' Blog

June 21, 2013

The Real Economy – the next in the RSE series on the Scottish Independence Debate

Filed under: DHI SPIF, economics, Politics, Scotland, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 5:21 pm

The Real Economy was defined loosely as making things and distributing them.  The seminar was wide ranging though each speaker talked mainly to his pitch although opening up in the discussion.

  1. Brandon Malone – Branding, Public Relations and Promotions would be stronger in an Independent Scotland.  Scotland has suffered under the UK through anti-Europe UK, Iraq and Afghanistan and Scotland has its own quality legal services
  2. Stephen Boyd – Labour market has not been much discussed in the Independence debate other than on pensions.  Scotland has a good labour position though there is a rise in self-employment and high youth unemployment.  He favours a move to a social partnership between the Government, management and labour.  He welcomed the Heseltine review of some months ago.
  3. Gordon Hughes talked only about energy. Energy contributes 15 – 20% to GDP in Scotland but utilises only 2% of the jobs.  Highly dependent on external investment and volatility of the oil prices. Investing in energy is a mixed blessing – drives up labour costs and prices us out of manufacturing (witness the total absence of car manufacturing in Australia).    Norway has the state owned StatOil  – Scotland doesn’t. Critical to balance spending oil revenues as in past and putting it into a sovereign fund – may be too late to start – no point in crying over the past.  Avoid the ‘Dutch Disease’.  Don’t expect a cosy relationship with rUK in energy – England will buy where it’s cheapest – French nuclear rather than Scottish wind!
  4. Jeremy Peat – Competition and Regulation – after Independence, regulation could be shared as much in common eg Electricity but Scotland has its own unique opportunities, Comms and Transport.  Possibly centralised Regulation a la the Dutch.  Good people are key
  5. In the discussion – Scotland needs to be open and globalised – a small country can’t act otherwise – difficult to compete with London as the centre of the world.  Freedom of choice much less than politicians make out. Received wisdom that equality makes for better work force.  Small countries need to buffer the shocks – requires flexibility.  There needs to be certainty in regulation – tight fiscal and monetary regime.  Scotland great at creating intellectual capital but rubbish at applying it.
  6. Real people in Real Jobs

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