Development agency Scottish Enterprise (SE) has announced it will spend £400 million in the next year safeguarding and creating employment.
The organisation has set a target of creating up to 10,500 jobs, paying at least the real living wage, in its business plan for 2021/22.
Launching the document, SE’s interim chief executive Linda Hanna said the plan is to help “harness the potential” of digital, net-zero, health and advanced manufacturing.
With recent economic statistics confirming Scotland’s economy may not return to pre-pandemic levels until early 2024, the agency said its focus was to “build on signs of recovery and accelerate growth for Scotland”.
Businesses will have to show their commitment to net-zero and fair work conditions when applying for funding and support.
Ms Hanna said: “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, 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 next year, set out in SE’s new business plan include:
- 10,500 jobs paying at least the real living wage, including green jobs
- £425m research and development investment by businesses/projects;
- £360m capital investment by businesses/projects;
- £230m growth funding raised by businesses;
- £1 billion planned international exports;
- 240,000 tonnes of CO2 savings by businesses/projects.
Ms Hanna continued: “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.”
Ms Hanna was appointed SE’s interim chief executive in October following the departure of Steve Dunlop who spent two-and-a-half years in the post.
SE is one of three Scottish Government-funded development agencies in Scotland, along with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the recently-established South of Scotland Enterprise.
In March the organisation said it was making £4m available to firms throughout the country to stimulate the creation of new green jobs.
It is the first of a three-year, £27m, series of grant funding calls the agency has planned to support post-pandemic economic recovery and advance Scotland’s net-zero ambitions.
The initial round opened to applications earlier this month, with grants
from £50,000 up to a maximum of £500,000 to be awarded on a competitive basis.