Policies - Economic Development in Scotland

“Take up the fifth part of the land in the seven plenteous years.” Genesis 41:34

1. Self-sustainability

Scotland’s natural resources and our historic work ethic are well suited to self-sustainability in the climate of reduced reliance on fossil fuels. Wise stewardship of God-given resources is essential to build a just and prosperous nation. Scotland has great natural resources that, properly managed, can provide the essential services for civilised life and useful productive employment. The economy should be the servant of the people of Scotland, not their master.

We will encourage built-in continuity rather than built-in obsolescence; and seek to improve energy efficiency in our homes and lifestyles. We will also support local supply of food and recreation, power and building materials. This will reduce waste and promote self-sustainability.

2. The Working Week

Many people work too much, and many not enough. The Scottish Christian Party seeks to promote efficiency in society and to encourage the more equitable distribution of the opportunity to work with the benefits that flow from work. The Scottish Christian Party therefore believes that the first step that Scotland should take to promote efficiency, reduce waste and carbon emissions, is to have more observance of a weekly day of rest. Not only does this reflect the Christian constitution of Scotland but it allows workers to have quality time with their family and a day to worship God. We will seek a Royal Commission to demonstrate the social, environmental and economic benefits of observing Sunday as a day of rest. The Scottish Christian Party notes that the observance of a day of rest as prescribed in the Ten Commandments will not only bring Scotland into obedience with God’s Word but also be an immediate benefit to the over-worked people of Scotland.

3. The Night Time Economy

While recognising that an integrated society requires 24 hour shift work for essential services, we believe that the night time economy can be false economy. The incessant drive towards 24 hour opening is stretching essential resources too far. The cost of basic services in terms of policing, emergency services, transport, etc., is too demanding upon infrastructure, especially in the cold and dark nights of the winter. With the advent and availability of internet shopping, we should seize the opportunity to roll back the night time economy to essential services. There is no need for clubs to have a drinks licence and be open till 3 a.m., after which time the tax-payer picks up the bill in financial, social and human costs. We welcome the successful and growing contribution of initiatives such as Street Pastors to fill a gap between policing and social services in the early hours of the morning, but this is testimony to the growing demand upon resources of the night time economy and manifests that it is false economy. We will encourage the roll back of the night time economy to essential services.

4. Venture Capital

The Scottish Christian Party supports local wealth generation with an emphasis on local entrepreneurs rather than handouts to multinational firms. We will encourage joint ownership schemes in which venture capital rather than grants will be made available by local government. The local government share of profits from successful ventures should be ploughed back into new ventures. We will support incentives including business rates holidays and business mentoring for start-ups.

5. National Work Service

The Scottish Christian Party, in partnership with industrial leaders, will support training schemes to reduce skills shortages in Scotland and the need for costly immigration. School-leavers who have not found a job within weeks of leaving school will be attached preferentially to new and growing Scottish-owned businesses. Salaries will be subsidised for the first two years to an amount equal to the benefits which would have been paid if the school leaver were unemployed. As a condition of unemployment benefit we will explore the condition that claimants are available each Monday for work experience or work on environmental improvement projects. This would safeguard the habit of work and give opportunity to obtain positive references.

6. Water Supply

Scotland’s water resources are a long-term national asset with the potential to deliver an increasingly competitive advantage over countries where water is becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. We will keep Scottish Water in public ownership and encourage long-term integrated planning (with housing, energy and transport) in the interests of all the people of Scotland. We will explore the potential for the large-scale export of water from Scotland.

7. Oil

Oil in the North Sea must be effectively extracted and any decommissioning process should maximise the re-use of oilrigs and infrastructure for marine renewable projects. Similarly when the Atlantic frontier is developed, part of the revenue should be set aside to encourage renewable projects and the infrastructure designed to be adapted later for marine renewable projects.

8. Nuclear and Coal

A sustainable balance of energy sources is currently needed. A safe, cost effective and clean extraction of Scottish Coal, and some new generation nuclear power stations need to be supplemented as soon as possible with as much renewable energy as is feasible. The Scottish Christian Party believes that it is wrong to leave the problem of the disposal of nuclear waste to future generations. Therefore we will require the budget for new nuclear power stations to include a significant percentage ring-fenced for research and development of a nuclear waste disposal solution. Scotland should move away from reliance on large-scale imported energy. We will invest now to be sustainable and self-sufficient in the future.

9. Renewable Energy

Scotland has outstanding potential to be the renewable energy capital of Europe. The key to unlocking this potential could be a sub-sea ‘ring main’ round the coast from Hunterston to Torness. We will encourage serious research into its viability as a basis for making us self-sufficient in energy as well as being a major exporter. The planning system and grants should encourage greater energy efficiency and the incorporation of appropriate technology into all new buildings and major improvements. We will encourage small-scale renewable schemes and champion their right to sell energy to the grid. We will co-operate internationally with research into the potential to transform energy storage and transmission; e.g. through the use of hydrogen.

10. Forestry

We welcome the Government’s U-turn on the sell-off of forests owned and managed by the Forestry Commission in England. This follows the SNP Government’s similar U-turn in Scotland in 2009. We do not see any immediate need to alter the balance of forestry ownership in Scotland. Whereas steady progress is being made with the regeneration of the native Caledonian forest and recreational provision, there is a risk of a shortage of commercial timber. Attention needs to be addressed to this, to protect and develop the timber using sector that provides many rural jobs for Scotland.

We will support the development of biomass energy and encourage the planning of Scotland’s forests to meet our long term needs for energy, carbon sinks, paper, construction and insulation materials.

11. Agriculture

We will investigate how to reduce red tape to promote sustainable and organic farming and crafting.

We will seek to reduce food miles and excessive packaging. We will encourage local cooperative enterprise, such as domestic gardening initiatives, allotments, community use of ‘set-aside’ land and their promotion in schools projects. Such outdoor activities, healthy food options, and selling of produce can teach school children the skills for small business set-ups.

Planning permission for multinational firms should integrate local retailers, caterers and other service providers with local agricultural suppliers.

12. Fisheries

We will promote the re-vitalisation of our fishing industry and revisit the restrictions on our local fisherman by European legislation. We will seek to establish limits around our coastline to preserve stocks of fish and sand eels. Quotas need to be adjusted to end the scandal of discarding good quality catches. We will examine the role of the Crown Estate Commission to ensure that communities benefit from the potential offered by the shoreline and seabed.

We need to build confidence in the long-term future of the fishing industry by recovering control of our fishing legislation, and Scotland needs a champion for this cause. Lay-offs are endangering the commitment of the next generation of fishermen who need better evidence of governmental commitment to the long term protection of their livelihood, and not only for the foreseeable future. If this cannot be negotiated, then it adds force to the argument to leave the European Union.

13. Tourism

Tourism is the fastest growing and largest single industry in Scotland, particularly in rural areas. It accounts for about 3% of Scotland’s economic output and about 9% of employment. Tourist spending averages about £4 billion annually. The Scottish Christian Party will promote further growth and professionalism at grass roots level. The customer’s experience of welcome and value for money are essential building blocks for future growth.

We will re-assess the effect upon the tourist industry of the integration of the Area Tourist Boards (ATBs) into the centralised body Visit Scotland, to see if it should be down-sized and reformed. We will consider a smaller co-ordinating body with direction and control coming from re-instated Area Tourist Boards, acknowledging the worth of local expertise and passion for their respective areas.

We will encourage registration of all tourism service providers. The option of classification should be available if desired. We are concerned that the current application of equalities legislation will adversely affect bed and breakfast establishments run by Christian proprietors and other proprietors, and this legislation must be revised or it will have a devastating effect upon service providers in some areas.

The first point of contact is often the local Tourist Information Centre. Their current restricted hours need more flexibility and Centres should provide more access to tourist information at least through the internet. We will take steps to lessen, where possible, the building of large scale hydro-electric schemes and onshore wind farms in predominantly tourism-orientated areas. We will encourage research and development of small-scale renewable energy resources such as micro-hydro schemes to benefit local communities directly, enhancing eco-tourism potential.

We will encourage apprenticeship schemes within the tourism industry to encourage young people to view the hospitality industry as a worthwhile career choice with a definite structure.

We will encourage the promotion of cultural tourism, building on Scotland’s established links within the UK and abroad.

14. Youth unemployment and apprenticeship schemes

We will address youth unemployment and help small businesses by improving apprenticeship regulations so that businesses do not train apprentices only to see them leave for another employer before there is a mutual benefit.  We will address the abuse of employment tribunals which inhibits employers taking on new employees.  This is a more comprehensive solution than promising the creation of a particular number of apprenticeships.

15. Beauly-Denny Power line

We support as much undergrounding as possible and believe that cost should not be the determining factor in areas of environmental sensitivity. The British tax-payer paid for a pylon-free Lake District, pylons will be removed for the few weeks of the London Olympics, and we expect similar aesthetic standards to be applied to the route of the Beauly-Denny Power line.

16. Strategic Defence Spending Review and RAF cutbacks

We are dismayed that RAF Kinloss, RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Leuchars are under threat in the recent Strategic Defence Spending Review. We note that RAF chiefs have recommended that RAF Lossiemouth in Moray be retained and we support First Minister Alex Salmond’s case for the retention of both RAF Leuchars and RAF Lossiemouth. The thoughtless and wasteful cancelling of nine Nimrod MRA4 aircraft with the closure of RAF Kinloss in Moray was shameful. The sudden closure of such significant employers, especially when integral to the local economy, should be co-ordinated with regeneration schemes to offset the effect of job losses. The scale of the defence cuts demand review especially in the light of current developments in Libya. We need more effort put into efficiency measures as an alternative to cuts, and to reassess our priorities because the first duty of government is the defence of the country.

17. Consumer Debt

We will legislate so that consumer debt which is not repaid within seven years, together with the interest thereon, will be completely written off, forcing a new responsibility on lenders in advertising, contractual terms and collection mechanisms. We will seek to abolish Early Repayment Charges on mortgages and other loans to encourage responsible lending and redress the balance in favour of the consumers.

Consumerism has led to a debt culture, followed by a hand-out culture, where every new initiative must be funded by a grant or a loan. We will encourage a new attitude to budgeting through new schemes with local authorities.

18. Super Casinos

Recognising that gambling addiction is a blight on society the Scottish Christian Party will oppose all plans to establish super casinos in Scotland.

19. Working Mothers

We will reverse the incessant drive to encourage mothers with young children into the formal labour market. We will lobby Westminster for a tax and benefit system that recognises that children brought up by a mother at home, with a working father, have by far the best start in life.


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