Economic growth is key to Scotland's success - Ian Murray

​​Edinburgh is the UK’s most important financial services hub outside London. Despite the immense challenges of the global crash, the sector in Scotland has remained resilient and contributes £13.6 billion – or an astonishing 9.2 per cent of the Scottish economy – employing 160,000 people.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Image: John Devlin/National World.Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Image: John Devlin/National World.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Image: John Devlin/National World.

Many of today’s jobs are in analytics, online services and security, with a recent expansion of high-quality data science roles.

The sector may be changing from when I worked at Aegon, but it’s importance to our city and our country remains paramount.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Over the coming week, you will hear a lot about economic growth. At Scottish Labour’s conference in Glasgow, the party will outline its approach to ensuring this growth is delivered, using the vast array of levers already available to the Scottish Government.

At Westminster, the UK Labour Party has just published its plan for financial services. This sets out six priorities: deliver inclusive growth, enhance the UK’s international competitiveness, reinforce consumer protection, lead the world in sustainable finance, embrace innovation and fintech and reinvigorate our capital markets.

While this is just the start of the process, a future Labour government across the UK is committed to spurring investment, restoring economic security and reviving growth. This is, of course, absolutely essential after the Tories’ catastrophic mismanagement of the economy.

For a party that has many on its benches who worked in financial services, it has absolutely no idea how to make this sector more successful.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So Labour’s plan is fantastic news for Edinburgh and Scotland. As a major economic hub, we benefit from our close proximity to London. And Edinburgh offers a lower cost base for workers living here, making it an attractive option for employers.

Being part of the UK’s financial services market is a vital component of our city’s success – in turn helping all the businesses which rely on a thriving local economy, such as restaurants, hotels and pubs.

Under a Labour government, the Scotland Office will be our country’s window to the world – encouraging even more investment here, rather than simply picking fights.

Financial services are not without their challenges ahead though – with AI disruption for example.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Technological advance and skills are, therefore, key to the continued success of the sector. This will be at the heart of Scottish Labour’s economic growth strategy, which will run in tandem with UK Labour’s.

We will work with universities to develop ways to further increase the number of data scientists, project managers and other specialisms to ensure this sector is fit for the future.

And while Scotland already has an excellent reputation in financial technology (fintech), we need to ensure that talented graduates don’t choose Berlin or Singapore instead. I believe Scotland can become a European leader in fintech training, education and innovation.

Next week, the SNP’s Economy Secretary Neil Gray will try to make the case for a stronger economy in a separate Scotland with yet another tax payer-funded paper on independence. This simply isn’t possible – and I strongly suspect Neil knows this.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

While he publishes the latest fantasy paper on independence, it will be in stark contrast to Labour’s in-depth financial services review for the whole UK, and Scottish Labour’s economic growth plans.

Only one party in Scotland – and the UK – is serious about economic growth and jobs in our city.

Ian Murray MP is Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.