Today, we joined 115 charities, economists, businesses, trade unions and academics to send an open letter to Scotland’s First Minister calling for an “urgent transition to a Wellbeing Economy.”
In the letter we commended Scottish Government measures such as the first Wellbeing Economy monitor, efforts to encourage fair work and the commitment to review how to increase the number of purposeful and democratic businesses in Scotland. But we and our fellow authors – who include Carnegie UK, IPPR Scotland, STUC, Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Church of Scotland – stress this is not adding up to “substantive progress”. We have called for a “robust plan to put the wellbeing of people and nature at the heart of our economy.”
On Tuesday the First Minister will join fellow senior representatives of the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership at the Wealth of Nations 2.0 Conference. Scotland is a founding member of the group, which includes New Zealand, Finland, Canada, Iceland and Wales. The letter, sent ahead of the conference, urges Nicola Sturgeon to transform Scotland’s National Performance Framework into a Wellbeing Framework and strengthen its power and reach; use devolved tax powers to share wealth more evenly, invest in social security, universal basic services, public sector wages and environmental improvements; and to reshape the business support landscape to prioritise the kind of enterprises that enhance our collective wellbeing.
The Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation contains the aspiration to become a “Wellbeing Economy” but a narrow focus on GDP growth grounds the strategy in “the same logic that has delivered decades of poverty, inequality and environmental degradation.” In a supporting statement we have set out our collective vision of a Wellbeing Economy, which we define as one that “delivers good lives for all people and protects the health of our planet.”
Sarah Davidson, Chief Executive, Carnegie UK said: “Scotland has been at the forefront of the global debate about developing an economy that works for everyone. But there’s an opportunity to turn that rhetoric into reality in Glasgow next week.
“That means Ministers in Edinburgh changing how they measure success, ensuring that social, environmental, and democratic priorities are considered alongside economic goals. It means adopting policies that boost collective wellbeing. It means fast-tracking a new Future Generations Commissioner to speak up for the people that will come after us.” STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer:
“The need has never been greater for the Scottish Government to step up to the plate and fundamentally redesign our economy for the benefit of working people. We cannot ever hope to have a ‘wellbeing economy’ whilst wealth is created and hoarded by those at the top.
“People throughout Scotland are suffering through a cost-of-living crisis not of their making and not of their choosing. It’s time, now more than ever, that Scottish Government action matched Scottish Government rhetoric, urgently prioritising wellbeing and welfare over wealth”.
Professor of Wellbeing Economy at the University of Glasgow, Gerry McCartney said:
“Redesigning the economy to serve the needs of people and planet, and to value what actually matters is an urgent task. Poverty is rising, life expectancy is stalling and the climate and nature crisis are posing an existential threat. “We need a deep deliberative conversation across Scotland about the society we want and the economy that can support this. There is no alternative if we want a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren to live on.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland Sustainable Economy Advisor, Matthew Crighton said:
“A Wellbeing Economy that looks after people and planet is urgently needed because our current economic system is speeding us in the wrong direction, with climate science warning that we have a small and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future. “We need a redesign of the economy which will orient all public spending towards these vital shared goals and also requires private companies to play their part too. The Scottish Government has many of the necessary powers to improve lives now and we are calling on it to translate its support for the idea of a wellbeing economy into tangible action.” Download our joint statement and the letter to the First Minister along with list of signatories below.
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