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Scottish Government Announces Review for Tech Role in Economic Recovery

David Paul

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economic recovery

The Finance Secretary has asked for an independent review to focus on how the tech sector can help Scotland’s economy recover after COVID-19.

Scotland’s Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, has announced a short-life review, led by former Skyscanner COO Mark Logan, to examine how the country’s tech industry can help with economic recovery.

In a statement, Forbes said that economic recovery would require the country to “think radically about embracing digital technologies and low-carbon reforms”.

She noted that Scotland’s tech scene is “one of the most innovative, high growth sectors we have,” and critical to Scotland after COVID-19.

Ms Forbes said: “As Scotland seeks to emerge from lockdown and restart our economy when the time is right, we will need that innovation more than ever.

“That is why I have invited Mark Logan to lead a review that will recommend how we can harness the enormous potential of this sector.”

She continued: “Through necessity, we have seen sectors embrace new technologies and innovation at a rate and a scale that would ordinarily have taken years.”

The Scottish Government must “play its role in maintaining that speed and momentum, moving at pace towards a new and high-tech low-carbon economy,” Forbes added. “To realise that vision, we need to catalyse our most innovative emerging sectors, ensure they fulfil their full potential, both as economic propositions in their own right and as sources of innovation for our wider economy.”

The Finance Secretary announced the review alongside the second phase of the Small Business Grant scheme ensuring that – in addition to existing grants of £10,000 or £25,000 for the first property – businesses may now qualify for grants of £7,500 or £18,750 on all subsequent eligible premises.

Retail, hospitality and leisure properties with a rateable value up to £18,000 that do not qualify for the Small Business Bonus Scheme may now qualify for Small Business Grants.

These enhancements, announced in April, are worth an estimated £120 million extra to businesses in Scotland, including the tech industry.

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Forbes re-affirmed Holyrood’s commitment to passing on the latest £155 million of consequentials to local government in full, and called for the Scottish Parliament to be given additional fiscal powers to help address the challenges facing Scotland’s economy.

Commenting on Logan’s appointment, she said he had been told to look for “clear, ambitious, deliverable proposals” to allow Scotland to “seize the opportunities” that economic recovery will present.

“He’s passionate about creating an ecosystem to provide opportunities for a new generation of tech talent and I look forward to reading his recommendations,” she said.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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