Scotland has a problem. It’s the economy.
- At the moment the wealthiest households in Scotland are 273 times richer than the poorest.
- There are 8 people on unemployment benefit for every full time vacancy advertised.
- Only 22% of Scots feel like they can influence decisions in their local area.
Oxfam Scotland’s Our Economy report is a blueprint for a new kind of economy that is the servant of the people and meets the needs of everyone in Scotland.
For too long, we have been obsessed with economic growth, without asking about the quality of that growth, and who benefits from it. That’s led to massive and growing inequality.
We have a jobs crisis. There simply isn’t enough employment for people. And it’s not just about the number of jobs – it’s about the quality of the work on offer. Too many people are working uncertain hours that make family life impossible. And too many are on low-wages, which mean that work is no longer a guaranteed route of poverty.
Top-down models of economic regeneration have left too many communities without a real say – with poorer people and women being left out especially.
Scotland is working towards a low-carbon economy. That’s a good thing, but most poorer communities are unable to take advantage of the cash benefits of renewable energy.
Our Economy shows that none of this inevitable. It proposes a whole series of policies, on jobs, on community regeneration, on ethical business practices, on the environment, on tax, on the welfare state, and on community participation. Taken together, they point the way to a new kind of economy, where everyone can participate, and from which everyone will benefit.
GalGael provides practical training that offer purpose and meaning to people. It provides a space that serves as a safe harbour for those whose lives have been battered by storms such as worklessness, depression or addiction.
These inspiring people are proof that the biggest problems in the existing economy don’t lie with individuals – they lie with an economic system that shuts people out and doesn’t allow them to participate properly.
Together, we can build a new prosperity that everyone in Scotland can share in.