IN TODAY’s The National, pro-indy think tank Business for Scotland shares some of the policies it says could help transform the economy of a Scotland gearing up to be independent, and help make the economic case for independence.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, the group’s chief executive said the discussion paper, titled Clarity Economics, is “the first attempt to create a roadmap to prosperity with the powers of independence, it’s an ambitious and far-reaching holistic approach to economic development”.

The discussion paper will be shared with Business for Scotland’s network of members this week and will then be published more widely following feedback. MacIntyre-Kemp hopes the final Clarity publication will “set the agenda for Scotland’s economy for years to come”.

The organisation has split the 50-plus policy ideas set out in the Clarity Economic model discussion paper into eight key areas. Here they are shared with readers of The National.

Economic Performance

Business for Scotland says the Scottish Government should legislate against late payments and impose a time limit to stop larger companies taking advantage of smaller ones.

This would accelerate cash flow and increase investment in small to medium enterprises.

It would also involve changing public sector procurement rules so that contract winners must pay subcontractors in 30 days or fewer.


The Scottish Government should consider tax breaks to help incentivise research and development (R&D), create new products and increase knowledge.

Currently, Scottish expenditure on R&D as a proportion of GDP is below the EU average.

These new incentives would, they say, help raise investment in research and development from 1.8 per cent of GDP, where it is now, to three per cent over five years.

Scotland’s new National Investment Bank should also offer finance to small companies owned in Scotland, not large multinationals, to assist them with R&D and embed intellectual property in Scotland.

Natural Resource Governance

Business for Scotland says the Scottish Government should organise a conference on the North Sea to bring together “best practices from Norway and the UK in order to plan how we best utilise Aberdeen and the North East’s expertise, and transform that economic area into a global centre of excellence in renewable energy that will never run out.”

The group says the conference should be organised by a coalition of industry bodies, unions, oil supply companies and environmental groups from Scotland and Norway.

The big players in the industry should not be “allowed to dominate.”


Scotland must be allowed to maintain membership of the single market and customs union, according to the think tank. Failing this, they add, “Scotland needs to reconsider its membership of the UK.”

Leaving the UK, and staying in the single market and customs union, would, the think tank argues, make Scotland “ideally positioned to trade with the rest of the UK and the EU.”


The more power is decentralised, the more an economy grows, the think tank says.

The group calls for a review into “enhancing localisation in Scotland to local communities and the piloting of participatory budgeting.”

“Westminster’s problem of over-centralisation is not unique”, the report states. “It is however the most extreme example of centralisation in Europe, once Scotland gains the powers of full nationhood it must decentralise that power to the regions and city councils.”


In the discussion paper, the think tank calls for the new National Investment Bank to prioritise spending in emerging renewable technologies, such as biomass combined power and heat, and wave and tidal energy.

This should be done, Business for Scotland says, to encourage commercial investment from Scotland-owned companies.


Equality, and increasing the number of female entrepreneurs, Business for Scotland says, is vital for the economy. The group quotes research showing the economic impact of increasing female entrepreneurial activity to match male activity could be as much as £7.6 billion a year.