Scottish Cities Outlook : an Update

Fraser of Allander Institute; Cooper, Benjamin and McGeoch, Adam and Spowage, Mairi. (2021) Scottish Cities Outlook : an Update. [Report]

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Abstract

In 2019, The Fraser of Allander Institute was commissioned by the Scottish Cities Alliance to outline the economic outlook for the seven cities of Scotland – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling. The report identified several strengths shared by the cities, such as skilled workforces, international reputation and economic potential. However, a number of marked differences were also observed in terms of scale, relative performance, industrial structure and resilience. Scotland's cities are the engines of growth in the economy and at the time of the last report, the outlook for the Scottish economy was improving. The report highlighted that Scotland's cities, alongside Scotland overall and economies globally, face a number of longer-term Grand Challenges. Those which dominated discussions included: economic growth and productivity; technological change; the transition to a net zero carbon economy; tackling inequalities; and an ageing population. In 2020, The Scottish Government, Scottish Cities Alliance and national agencies developed an action plan in response to the transition to net zero. The plan outlined how they will work collaboratively to ensure that Scottish cities play their part in meeting the 2045 carbon reduction targets, whilst maximising economic and well-being outcomes across Scotland. However, fast forward to present day and the picture for the Scottish economy is very different. Covid-19 has presented one of the greatest challenges in a generation – not only a global health crisis, but also a significant social and economic challenge, causing huge technological, social and cultural disruption.