SFE launches manifesto to support economic recovery through collaboration

Tuesday, 20 April 2021: Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE), the representative body for Scotland’s financial services industry, has launched its first ever election manifesto, calling for increased collaboration between business and the next Scottish Government to help drive a fair, inclusive and green recovery.

The election comes at a crucial moment in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and SFE is firmly committed to working with the next Scottish Government, UK Government and on a cross-party basis in playing a key role in the economic recovery. 

‘Supporting Economic Recovery Through Collaboration’ sets out four key asks of the next Scottish Government, including:

  • Collaboration on economic recovery: Convene a dedicated quarterly cross-sector forum of key industry groups, co-chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and/or Economy and the SFE Chairperson, focussed on developing clear public policy actions to accelerate Scotland’s economic recovery.
  • Collaboration on climate change: Placing financial services at the forefront of Scotland being recognised as a global centre for green finance and work collaboratively with the world leading expertise within Scotland’s energy sector to achieve this.
  • Collaboration on skills and inclusion: Ensure the improvement of digital inclusion, preparing young people from a range of diverse backgrounds for the workforce of the future and reskilling current employees. SFE also calls for a commitment to review Scotland’s apprenticeship system to assess whether it is properly supporting a growing financial services sector, which has the appetite to create more apprenticeships.
  • Collaboration on securing Scotland’s global position: Encourage collaboration between both the Scottish and UK Governments to ensure Scotland remains an attractive location for inward investment in order to cement our position as a leading and internationally recognised financial cluster.

The proposals were developed in consultation with SFE’s member organisations, which represent the full spectrum of financial and related professional services in Scotland.

The manifesto will be followed by the release of the renewed Financial Services Strategy, which will serve as the context for the industry’s collective focus on issues such as climate change, the workforce of the future, changing customer needs, innovation, inclusion and ensuring Scotland remains an attractive location for investment.

Sandy Begbie CBE, Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said: “At a time when public finances are stretched and the economy is in sharp focus, the public and private sectors must collaborate to ensure we deal with the challenges ahead and rebuild our economy. The financial and professional services industry will play a vital role in this because our businesses support all aspects of the economy.

“The focus of each political party in this election campaign has rightly been on how we rebuild our economy after the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people and businesses across the country.

“Next month’s election comes at a crucial moment in the response to the pandemic and SFE is firmly committed to working with the next Scottish Government, UK Government and parties across the political spectrum to help Scotland achieve a fair, inclusive and green recovery.

“That is why SFE has launched its manifesto to highlight four areas of public policy that we view as priorities for the next Scottish Government that will, if adopted, contribute to sustainable economic growth during the next parliamentary term and beyond.”

Coinciding with the launch of its manifesto, SFE sponsored a Scottish Election Finance Hustings on the role of financial services in economic recovery.

The hustings was hosted by Holyrood Events and chaired by Holyrood Magazine editor Mandy Rhodes. More than 150 attendees heard from:

  • Kate Forbes, SNP
  • Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservatives
  • Christine Jardine, Liberal Democrats
  • Daniel Johnson, Scottish Labour
  • Lorna Slater, Scottish Greens Co-Leader

Speaking after the hustings, Chief Executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise,  Sandy Begbie CBE, said: “Today’s hustings was attended by over 150 representatives of the financial and professional services industry which is a fantastic turnout and testament to the crucial role our members play in the economy, particularly as we recover from the pandemic.

“All party representatives took part in a robust and thought-provoking discussion and I’m encouraged that all were unanimous in their support of our manifesto. It is crucial we have collaboration across businesses and parties across the political spectrum if we are to achieve sustainable economic growth for the long term.”

Watch a video of Sandy launching the manifesto here. Download a PDF of the manifesto here.