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Issue 13


In this issue we focus on Scotland's Low Carbon Opportunity - in business and public services - following the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. We also feature a range of broader public policy issues as usual. As always, we welcome comment and contributions. Please contact us if you would like to discuss advertising in or writing for the next edition at Issue 14 will be published in May/June 2016, will reflect on the policy implications of the Scottish Government election outcome and will consider the additional powers coming to the Scottish Parliament.


Elections - an array of institutional /constitutional changes that may - or may not - be agreed soon and implemented at some later point; political parties and organisations trying hard to work out exactly what the election of a new parliament might mean for all of us.

Scotland's Low Carbon Opportunity

Click here to find this issue's articles on the policy focus of Scotland's Low Carbon Opportunity

The changing nature of residential investment in Scotland

The Scottish buy-to-let (BTL) sector can be forgiven for feeling a bit battered after 2015. The vast majority of this sector is made up of small investors with one or two properties, often making a modest yield and intending to use the expected capital appreciation as part of a "pension pot" in later life.

The Benefits of Confidential Reporting

CIRAS is a confidential incident reporting and analysis system in the transport sector, operating since 1996. It offers a corporate safety net ensuring safety, health or other concerns are captured where they otherwise might be lost, or remain unaddressed. With CIRA's help, these concerns are investigated to a satisfactory conclusion.

Imagining a Fairer Fife

"The causes which destroyed the ancient republics were numerous; but in Rome, one principal cause was the vast inequality of fortunes." wrote Noah Webster (of Webster dictionary fame) more than 200 years ago. The question for all of us today, is whether we are going the way of Rome. Will the growing inequalities and unfairness in our society be as fatal? Sounds like hyperbole, a gross exaggeration?

Time to Refocus Regeneration Resources?

The Scottish Government is committed to tackling poverty and inequality. So to what extent are national regeneration investments focused on Scotland's deprived places? To a lesser extent than is often thought, based on our work with SURF, a network of more than 250 regeneration-related organisations in Scotland.

What is evidence and what is it telling us to do?

Our public and voluntary sector services are currently facing some of the most severe challenges in a generation, both in terms of the issues with which they are grappling and the resources they have at their disposal to address them. Local authorities and health services are reducing or, in some cases, closing down services.

Analysing, advising, researching and arguing

The FAI's hallmark of informed, independent and impartial analysis and commentary of the Scottish economy will now be added an in-depth analysis of Scotland's fiscal position, plus an ability to model the fiscal consequences of different policy positions.

Digital exclusion - is the 3rd Sector missing the bus?

We are now a mere four years away from the Scottish Government's bold ambition to make us a world-leading digital nation. The 2020 target in The Scottish Government's "Digital Future" strategy outlines four key strands: connectivity, digital public services, digital economy and digital participation.

Planning for a Fairer Scotland

Planning has always been about equity. The genesis for formal planning was tackling the terrible living conditions suffered in cities across the UK at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries.

Stressed out? Let's do something about it.

Stress is endemic in modern life; and while some may argue that this has always have been the case, the relevance of stress to us is in the lives we are living today. I wrote at the start of the year about the impact workplace stress is having on Scottish (and indeed UK) industry, and the need for pro-active preventative approaches to stress management.

In working order? The state of Scotland's labour market

With impeccable timing, the Resolution Foundation published its analysis of Scotland's recent labour market trends just as the ONS showed the employment rate returning to the level last seen in 2008 .

Tartanising the Apprenticeship Levy

In November last year, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans for a new Apprenticeship Levy. This would be a new tax on all organisations that employ paid staff, set at 0.5% of their PAYE bill and will start in April 2017.

Thinking Big on Affordable House Building - a common sense policy?

Shelter Scotland has been campaigning and lobbying for a major step-change in the provision of affordable social housing for many years. Finally it looks like politicians have been listening to Shelter and others in the housing sector and meaningful, positive changes could be afoot.

Time for a Transient Visitor Levy?

As the current Council Leader in Edinburgh, I fully understand the importance of tourism to our local economy I know that Scotland's capital city is one of the most desirable tourist destinations in Europe, welcoming nearly 4 million visitors a year.

Developing Carluke

There are large numbers and a wide range of Development Trusts the length and breadth of Scotland, in Highlands; Lowlands; Islands and Cities. One of them is in Carluke.


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