Sustainable Growth Commission

The Sustainable Growth Commission was established by the First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader, Nicola Sturgeon, in September 2016. The membership of the commission was at her invitation under the Chairmanship of Andrew Wilson. It has approached its remit through commissioned research, the insights and analysis of its members and through a series of meetings with economically important organisations across Scotland and from independently offered advice and analysis. Its members served pro-bono and its budget was entirely funded by the Scottish National Party.


To assess projections for Scotland’s economy and public finances, consider the implications for our economy and finances under different potential governance scenarios, and make recommendations for policy on:

  • Measures to boost economic growth and improve Scotland's public finances - both now in the aftermath of the EU referendum and in the context of independence
  • The potential for and best use of savings from UK programmes in the event of independence, such as Trident.
  • The range of transitional cost and benefits associated with independence and arrangements for dealing with future revenue windfalls, including future North Sea revenues.

In addition, the Commission was asked to take account of the recommendations of the 2013 Fiscal Commission reports, and the outcome of the EU referendum, and consider the most appropriate monetary policy arrangements to underpin a programme for sustainable growth in an independent Scotland.

Commission Members

The Commission membership includes senior figures from business, economics, politics and academia and has also drawn on externally commissioned research and expertise.

Members of the Commission take part in a personal capacity and membership of the Commission does not indicate support or membership of the SNP.

Membership of the Sustainable Growth Commission:

  • Cllr Marie Burns, Shadow Economy and Communities spokesperson, North Ayrshire Council
  • Iain Docherty, Professor of Public Policy and Governance, University of Glasgow
  • Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch
  • Andrew Hughes Hallett, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, George Mason University and University of St Andrews
  • Dan McDonald, businessman and founder of N56 group
  • Derek Mackay MSP, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance
  • Marie Macklin CBE, Founder and Chief Executive of the Klin Group and Macklin Enterprise Partnership
  • Jim Mather, former Enterprise Minister and Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde and Heriot Watt University
  • Roger Mullin, Honorary Professor at University of Stirling Management School, former MP and SNP Westminster Finance spokesperson
  • Catherine Schenk, Professor of Economic and Social History, University of Oxford
  • Mark Shaw, Chief Executive, Hazeldene Group
  • Shirley-Anne Somerville, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science
  • Petra Wetzel, founder and Managing Director WEST Brewery
  • Andrew Wilson (Chair), Founding Partner, Charlotte St Partners

Research and logistical support has been provided by Graeme Blackett, Director of BiGGAR Economics. The coordination and organisation of the consultation and engagement programme was undertaken by Ian McAllan.

We are extremely grateful to Graeme Blackett and his team at BiGGAR Economics for their work supporting the Commission. We are also very grateful to David Skilling of Landfall Strategy Group, John McLaren (Scottish Trends) and Richard Marsh of 4-consulting and Professor Patrick Dunleavy of the London School of Economics for their work supporting some of the insights in the reports. 

A number of other individuals offered personal insight, analysis and criticism throughout the process and they are too numerous to mention. All and every point made has been considered very carefully. We are especially grateful to our three senior Peer Reviewers who devoted very valuable time to offer very material improving comments and generally very supportive perspectives on the direction taken.

The data and evidence are sourced throughout the three sections of the report.  All data is subject to update and revision but the data referenced was the most recent and comprehensive at the time of writing.  During the course of the Commission’s work, it has been necessary to update the analysis as new data has been published and it has been notable that the updates did not change the conclusions and recommendations reached.  The analysis is based on an examination of the long-term performance and prospects of the Scottish economy and while monthly, quarterly or annual data releases do provide some insights, the focus of debate and energy should be on improving the long-term trajectory.

Finally, we are, of course, very grateful to the First Minister whose initiative this Commission is and who has offered all of us an historic opportunity to make a public service contribution to Scotland’s policy debate. While we have briefed the First Minister and her colleagues as the research and analysis work has been undertaken, the content of this report is entirely the responsibility of the Commission and its members. 

The content of this report is entirely the position of the Commission itself and should not be seen as necessarily reflecting the rounded views of any individual that has contributed commissioned work.