Government & Policy - How SCDI Engage

Why Does SCDI Influence Policy?
SCDI’s founding mission was to examine and consider impartially the key issues affecting the Scottish economy and - where necessary - to propose action from Government and Parliament. Our aim is to influence and inspire government and key stakeholders to create sustainable economic prosperity for Scotland - an ambition as relevant today as it was when SCDI was established in 1931.

SCDI's membership encompasses a unique gathering of knowledge, experience and talent across the private, public and social economy sectors, which provides a dynamic and creative force to ensure that Scotland can maximise the potential of its assets, people and nation.

Who Sets Policy In Scotland?
Since the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, power between the UK and Scottish Parliaments over specific policy areas is shared. The Scottish Parliament is responsible for 'Devolved' powers; these powers have increased over time through the developments within the Scotland Acts of 1998 and 2012, as well as the more recent post-referendum Scotland Bill of 2015/16. The recent devolution agreement means that the UK Parliament still 'Reserves' power over a considerable range of policy areas. 

Key policy areas in which SCDI engages include:

Devolved Matters - Scottish Parliament

  • Taxation (Landfill Tax, Land & Buildings Transactions Tax, Aggregates Levy, Air Passenger Duty, Income Tax rates)
  • Economic development & business support
  • Trade & inward investment promotion
  • Education & lifelong learning
  • Infrastructure (transport, housing, broadband, regeneration, water)
  • Energy consents (licensing of onshore oil & gas exploration)
  • Planning
  • Local government & business rates
  • Procurement
  • Public service reform & delivery
  • Environmental protection & regulation
  • Cities strategy & rural affairs

Reserved Matters - UK Parliament

  • Taxation (Corporation Tax, Capital Gains, VAT, Income Tax Collection, Excise Duties)
  • Macroeconomic, monetary & fiscal policy
  • Financial regulation
  • EU relations & trade & investment policy
  • Infrastructure (aviation policy, cross-border rail, broadband)
  • Energy policy
  • Economic & competition regulation
  • Employment law
  • Company & intellectual property law
  • Pensions
  • Immigration policy

European Union policy-making is the source of between 15% and 50% of UK legislation and regulation annually. The EU is responsible for policy areas including the customs union, internal market and global trade agreements. It also has a large influence on agriculture and fisheries, environment, transport and energy, and provides funding for regions, social and training programmes, and research. 

SCDI works with local authorities across Scotland in supporting economic growth at a local level, through its national and regional committees, engaging with the Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development Group (SLAED) and the Scottish Cities Alliance.

How Does SCDI Influence Policy?
As an independent, non-politically-aligned organisation, SCDI has a rich history of setting a forward-looking policy agenda for Scotland which strengthens Scotland's competitiveness.

In 2015 SCDI refreshed its Blueprint for Scotland entitled 'From Fragile to Agile: A Blueprint for Growth & Prosperity' (replacing our previous Blueprint for Scotland in 2010). Through broad research and consultation with our members and key stakeholders, the Blueprint identifies key strengths and weaknesses in the Scottish economy in the vital areas of Productivity, Innovation and Internationalisation, underpinned by Infrastructure. The priorities established in the Blueprint, along with our continuous membership engagement, guide our day-to-day policy making and collaboration with key stakeholders and policymakers, which can include:

  • Consultations: Government and other organisations regularly consult on issues and proposed changes to policy. SCDI responds to requests from government institutions and committees (including Scottish Government, the UK Government, European Union institutions, Parliamentary Committees at Holyrood and Westminster), non-departmental organisations and local authorities to provide views and evidence on behalf of our membership.
  • Research: SCDI implements research and surveys to generate evidence to support economic priorities for Scotland, and develop influential reports which shape policy-thinking in Scotland.
  • Engagement: SCDI regularly meets with Government Ministers, MPs, MSPs, MEPs and Government officials, and represents our members on a range of advisory groups to inform future policy agendas.
  • Events: SCDI hosts a wide range of policy-related engagement events with senior politicians and policy-thinkers. These offer our members the opportunity to raise and discuss policy issues with key stakeholders and politicians. The SCDI Forum is the annual conference which helps members guide and develop SCDI’s policy work for the period ahead.

SCDI - Engaging Civic Scotland: Driving Economic Growth

How can you get involved?
SCDI carry-out policy influencing work on behalf of our membership and we seek and appreciate the input and engagement of all of our members in our policy-making. Their experience and expertise is essential to the quality and influence of our policy work.

SCDI’s Board, Policy Committee and Regional Committees are composed of our members and are representative of the whole membership. This allows discussion amd agreement of our policies, with members also having the opportunity to provide us with their veiws directly and through participating in policy engagement sessions.

We keep our members up-to-date with the issues and consultations on which we plan to work, forthcoming policy engagement events and our research projects, and we welcome the involvement of our wider membership. We are also happy to discuss members' policy issues or questions on which SCDI might be able to assist.

To find out more, or to get involved in SCDI’s Policy work, please contact our Head of Policy:


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