Scotland’s rural areas account for a sizeable share of the population and are a vital part of the country’s future. Over one-third (36%) of the population of Scotland live in non-metropolitan regions, resting well above the equivalent average in OECD countries (30%). They also host about a third of firms but employ only 15% of labour.
During the pre-Covid-19 period, almost all change in Scottish productivity growth from 2010 to 2018 was driven by accessible and remote rural areas. Using data from the UK Business Register matched with data from the UK Innovation Survey, the report found that remote regions accounted for 81.6% of the increase in productivity, with accessible rural regions contributing 25%. Urban areas, on the other hand, made, on average, a negative contribution (-6.6%).
Scotland’s rural areas are a bastion of opportunities for bringing new approaches and innovations to market that blend tradition with modernity.