Scottish Council Foundation

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The Scottish Council Foundation (SCF) is a neoliberal think tank that proclaims that: "Politically independent, our work bridges thinking and practice to provide innovative and practical solutions to many of the pressing social, economic and environmental challenges facing Scotland" [1].

It was established by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) in 1999, which remains strongly involved as three of the SCF's five trustees are high-ranking members of the SCDI executive and its board and all of them are important members of Scotland's business community.

In 2004, the SCF employed five full-time research staff. Its present director, James McCormick, was appointed in 2002. Previously he had worked for the Institute for Public Policy Research's (IPPR) Social Justice Commission Report (1994), which was important for the Labour Party's Third Way concepts of the welfare state.

The SCF is one of the only Scottish-based and Scotland-focussed think-tanks that carries out original research and only occasionally draws from external expertise. Unlike the David Hume Institute and Policy Institute, the SCF also cooperates with various organisations, including the Washington D.C Centre for Excellence in Government, the IPPR, the Public Health Institute of Scotland and the Scottish Development Centre for Mental Health. The SCF emphasises that it "brings the experience of its international networks ... to bear in everything it does." [2].

Non-aligned to any political party, the SCF's language resembles (New) Labour-speech: the institute's calls for action to "tackle inequalities in the marketplace as well as to redistribute income to poor households". It demands action led by the Scottish Executive to "promote cost-cutting partnerships between local shops and major retailers, and offer incentives for new businesses to set up in low-income neighbourhoods" in order to allow poor households to get more value for their money. In order to "enjoy the benefits of competition" more commitment from government to functioning markets and a clearer challenge to private service providers is demanded [3].

In the SCF's policy research work, equality does not feature very highly on the agenda as an aim in itself; at best marked disparities are seen as economically undesirable for all members of society: "a pronounced set of inequalities is bad for everyone, for the economy, for the people in the middle, for the people at the bottom", said its director James McCormick in January 2004. [4]

In January 2006 it published a report with the Fraser of Allander Institute proposing that Scottish Water be privatised.[5] In the same month it organised a conference with pharma giant Pfizer, one of the most active pharma lobbyists in Scotland on binge drinking. Andrew Harris, from the Foundation, said: "Education, improved housing, employment and environmental changes can all address problems such as binge-drinking far more effectively than trying to tackle the problem in isolation" [6]

The SCF, though its director says he sees it in a "social-democratic" epistemic community, pushes market friendly policies. It rejects what its director called the 'Scottish consensus'. What this means is the following: "to say that you're a left think-tank would not really say anything, it would say you're part of the consensus, because Scotland is so heavily centre-left, and you want to challenge the consensus [...] so we're not really interested in being aligned in a partisan sense". [7] Challenging the consensus here means introducing pro-market ideas into the public sphere and advising decision-makers into that direction.

Funding

The SCF is funded by big business . The SCF states that its "principal supporters" include

Personnel

Trustees

SCF's Trustees are:

2001

2006

Source: [1]

All serve in a personal capacity.

Advisors

All members serve in a personal capacity.

Johnston Clark Blackadders Solicitors Brendan Dick BT Scotland Roland Diggens Scottish Council for Development and Industry Andrew Gibb Glasgow 1999 Robina Goodlad Glasgow University Jon Harris COSLA Alison Hook Jill Kent British Energy plc Thomas Lange Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Carolyn McAdam Scottish and Southern Energy plc Joyce McMillan journalist and critic Anne Meikle Fair Play Scotland Jeremy Peat The Royal Bank of Scotland plc Seona Reid Glasgow School of Art Nicholas Rengger St Andrews University Tracey White Scottish Trades Union Congress

Source [2]

Staff 2001

source[3]

Staff 2006

Source: [4]

Contact details

Scottish Council Foundation,
23 Chester Street,
Edinburgh, Scotland, EH3 7ET
Phone: 0131 225 4709
Fax: 0131 220 2116
Email: scf AT @scottishcouncilfoundation.org
Web: http://www.scottishcouncilfoundation.org/index.php

External links


References

  1. Scottish Council Foundation Website, Home Page, accessed Nov. 2008
  2. Scottish Council Foundation Website, About Us, accessed Nov. 2008
  3. Scottish Council Foundation Website, Press Release, 20 February 2004, accessed Nov. 2008
  4. H. Pautz pdf Think-Tanks in Scotland, 55th Political Studies Association Annual Conference 4-7 April 2005 - University of Leeds]
  5. Scottish Council Foundation Website, Raising the Return - Scotland's Public Assets, accessed Nov. 2008
  6. Richard Gray Message in a bottle Scotland on Sunday, 29 January 2006.
  7. H. Pautz pdf Think-Tanks in Scotland, 55th Political Studies Association Annual Conference 4-7 April 2005 - University of Leeds]