MORE than 100 organisations have written to the First Minister calling for an “urgent transition” to a wellbeing economy.

The coalition of trade unions, charities, businesses, economists and academics commended the Scottish Government for measures such as the wellbeing economy monitor – which attempts to assess the country’s progress to transitioning to a wellbeing economy.

However, they said that the measures in place at present failed to add up to “substantive progress” and called for a “robust plan to put the wellbeing of people and nature at the heart of our economy”.

The group of signatories includes economic thinktank IPPR Scotland, the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), Friends of the Earth Scotland, the Church of Scotland, and the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland. 

It comes as the First Minister is set to attend a meeting of the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership at the Wealth of Nations 2.0 conference in Glasgow next week.

The National: The STUC's Roz Foyer said it was time for the Scottish Government to act on a wellbeing economyThe STUC's Roz Foyer said it was time for the Scottish Government to act on a wellbeing economy

Scotland is a founding member of the group, which includes New Zealand, Finland, Canada, Iceland and Wales.

The letter, sent ahead of the conference, urged Nicola Sturgeon to transform Scotland’s National Performance Framework into a Wellbeing Framework and strengthen its power and reach.

It called on the First Minister to use devolved tax powers to share wealth more evenly, invest in social security, universal basic services, public sector wages and environmental improvements.

It also encouraged the reshaping of Scotland’s business support landscape to prioritise enterprises that enhance collective wellbeing.

While the Scottish Government has said it has the aspiration to transition the country into a wellbeing economy, the coalition said a narrow focus on GDP growth grounded the country’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation in “the same logic that has delivered decades of poverty, inequality and environmental degradation.”

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STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said: “The need has never been greater for the Scottish Government to step up to the plate and fundamentally redesign our economy for the benefit of working people.

“We cannot ever hope to have a ‘wellbeing economy’ whilst wealth is created and hoarded by those at the top.

“People throughout Scotland are suffering through a cost-of-living crisis not of their making and not of their choosing. It’s time, now more than ever, that Scottish Government action matched Scottish Government rhetoric, urgently prioritising wellbeing and welfare over wealth”.

Professor of Wellbeing Economy at the University of Glasgow, Gerry McCartney, added: “Redesigning the economy to serve the needs of people and planet, and to value what actually matters is an urgent task.

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“Poverty is rising, life expectancy is stalling and the climate and nature crisis are posing an existential threat.

“We need a deep deliberative conversation across Scotland about the society we want and the economy that can support this. There is no alternative if we want a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren to live on.”

It comes as the UK Government’s autumn budget ushered in a fresh wave of tax hikes and public spending cuts, against a backdrop of rising energy bills and rocketing prices.