We want all of Scotland’s communities, regardless of size or location, to benefit from investment in jobs, skills and infrastructure and able to make the most of the assets they have.

To help deliver that, we are committed to stimulating capital investment from the public and private sectors in local and regional economies. This will require a strong partnership approach, particularly if we are to ensure that we can target more investment in the places where it can make the most significant difference to communities and reduce geographical economic inequalities.

As part of the ongoing development of Regional Economic Partnerships, inspired by the City Region and Growth Deal experience, we will work with all local authorities and their partners to develop and refine their regional economic strategies and action plans. We have embarked on co-production of a refreshed Regional Economic Strategy and Action Plan with the Glasgow City Region, the enterprise and skills agencies and their regional partners.

This process will add value to similar dialogue and collaborations across Scotland. Publication of the refreshed strategy is expected in the first half of 2020. A key element of this work will involve the enterprise agencies leading the development of regional prospectuses which will clearly articulate the case for private investment in regions and their local areas, either in supporting existing opportunities or by creating new opportunities. We will then use the Scotland Is Now campaign to promote those investment opportunities at events and through our international networks.

Place-making and place-based approaches provide opportunities for existing natural and historic environment assets to be recognised and valued and new infrastructure to deliver multiple benefits to support economic growth and regeneration. The Scottish Government and COSLA have recently agreed and adopted the Place Principle to help overcome organisational and sectoral boundaries, encourage better collaboration and community involvement, and improve the impact of combined energy, resources and investment in Scotland’s regions and local areas.

The Government wants to help ensure that those people who want to stay in the areas where they grew up are able to do that and can become active participants in the local economy and community.

We have established a Ministerial Task Force on Population and will develop an action plan to support repopulation of our rural and island communities and work with partners to test approaches using small scale pilots in rural Scotland. Inward migration is vital for the sustainability of many rural and island communities, and we want to work with the UK Government on their proposal for pilot schemes to encourage immigration to remote areas. We published the first ever National Islands Plan at the end of 2019. It sets out how we and other public sector partners will work to improve outcomes for island economies and communities and we will report on our progress each year.

We have already committed over £1.8 billion to deals and associated investments for all of Scotland’s city regions, Ayrshire, Borderlands, Moray and Argyll and Bute, and secured the commitment of the UK Government to pursuing 100% coverage of all of Scotland with deals.

As part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal, the three local authorities and their regional partners are developing a £3 million Community Wealth Building programme. The initiative is learning from UK and international experience of working with large public and private sector organisations. Retaining the maximum level of assets and prosperity in the hands of local communities, through measures led by procurement, employment and skills agencies and others, is crucial to boosting local economic development. The Ayrshire experience will help us to assist development of this approach in parts of Scotland, inspired by the potential of this innovative model of economic development.

And we will develop a long-term vision and plan for the revitalisation of the River Clyde.