Business in the Community Scotland releases Holyrood Manifesto Scorecard

With the 2016 Holyrood elections taking place on 5 May, Business in the Community Scotland has released a Responsible Business Scorecard, which highlights how the policies of each of the five main Scottish political parties will drive forward responsible business.

In the last year, Business in the Community Scotland has seen positive attempts in Scotland to drive businesses towards embracing the responsible business agenda through government initiatives such as the Business Pledge and the Living Wage.  Now it's time to see a movement hatched by business, the third sector and government collectively, and driven by business, to extablish a National Action Plan for Responsible Business in Scotland.

BITC Scotland has identified five areas which need to be tackled in order to create the National Action Plan, and assessed each party’s policies against them. The areas are:

  1. Ensure that age, gender, race and health do not limit an employee’s engagement and success in the workplace.

  2. Design smart ways to generate wealth so that our economy becomes regenerative, ensuring future business success.

  3. Prevent social background predicting a young person's success at school and beyond.

  4. Help people overcome disadvantage by increasing access to good, sustainable employment.s

  5. Create jobs and vibrant communities by supporting small local businesses.

  •  The Scorecard includes recognition of the following policies: 

  • Scottish National Party (SNP): “By 2021, we will almost double the number of hours of free early years education and childcare to 30 hours a week for vulnerable 2 year olds and all 3 and 4 year olds.”

  • Scottish Labour: “For those who are sentenced to time in prison, we want to make prison work – it shouldn’t just be a place to hold people who have committed crimes but should provide meaningful rehabilitation to reduce reoffending with opportunities for education, training and voluntary work.”

  • Scottish Conservatives: “The NHS is the public’s top priority and we will demand that NHS funding is increased by 2%, inflation or Barnett Consequentials – whichever is higher. We will also call for a significant increase in support for mental health services.”

  • Scottish Liberal Democrats: “Help schools develop links with local businesses, colleges and universities, echoing the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce which expressed concern that only one third of Scottish businesses have meaningful engagement with schools.”

  • Scottish Greens: “We will push for a new scheme delivered on a non-profit basis, contracted locally to the public and third sectors, which recognises the value of voluntary work and makes a genuine investment in participants’ skills. Such a scheme would address barriers to accessing work on account of age, disability, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality.”

Commenting, Jane Wood, Managing Director of Business in the Community Scotland, said:

 “Our analysis highlights that at this election sets of policies are on offer which, when combined, could see Holyrood allow responsible business to flourish more during this term than it ever has done before.

 “Our scorecard is not intended to choose winners or losers - instead it selects a cross-section of policies, all of which BITC Scotland believes would advance the five causes we have identified as priorities in order to create a National Action Plan for Responsible Business in Scotland.

 “Scotland has significant socioeconomic issues, but also some of the most innovative, exciting and ambitious businesses in the world. Our members are keen to harness their significant resources in a movement to build a stronger, more resilient and productive country.

 “Scottish politics has developed a reputation for cooperation and consensus since devolution, and we we hope the parties will foster that spirit to create a fair and sustainable economic future. We have seen positive attempts to drive businesses towards embracing the responsible business agenda and we we would now like to see a movement hatched by business, the third sector and government collectively - and driven by business. In effect, the establishment of a National Action Plan for Responsible Business in Scotland.

 “We will encourage whichever party wins the election on Thursday to work with their rivals to ensure that the best parts of everyone’s manifesto can have a chance of coming to fruition. The benefits would be felt by us all.”