What does economic success have in common with social justice? Let me start by saying they are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist long term without the other.

As we emerge from Covid we need collaboration and consensus between private, public and third sectors. All

our decisions must be rooted in care and compassion whilst prioritising economic recovery. Division and partisan politics must be pushed aside for genuine partnerships to be formed with a common purpose. Business has a responsibility but must be respected, included in decisions and encouraged to a far greater extent. Ultimately, it is business success that pays all the bills.

We have a fantastic opportunity to rebuild and create communities and a country we can be proud of. I haven’t heard of or seen a sensible post Covid economic plan yet.

Surely there must be one being worked on. We have the institutions and individuals capable enough. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.

With an actual plan for a better future, we can establish hope, the precursor to the required confidence. Covid has cost many all hope. However, hope can be found in an economically successful and social-justice driven plan for a better future. Confidence can build and flow into aspiration and with it a source of energy and commitment to overcome challenges along the way. Political division contributes nothing, but politicians can be a catalyst to create momentum and help deliver the changes we all need.

Economic prosperity alone creates the choice for us to be socially just and truly inclusive. We must develop

a sensible post-Covid economic plan that all elements of society have meaningfully contributed to. I know

at first-hand that social justice makes complete financial sense. There are huge pools of human talent that is constrained by poverty, written off by their postcodes and limited by their circumstances. Give them voice and the support they need and they will release huge social cost savings to be reinvested. Research soon to be published from MCR Pathways demonstrates that mentoring those experiencing the most disadvantage could save the country over £100 million in social costs per annum within 10 years.

We have the capacity, the skill and talent in our country, coupled with the energy and wisdom to make it happen. Relationship-based mentoring and organisations like MCR Pathways that can bring every community together on a simple and shared purpose to help young people experiencing disadvantage to realise their full potential. Mentoring breaks the cycle and creates a ripple effect for future generations. The rewards and benefits are immediate and shared by mentee, mentor and the mentor’s employer. Attainment, achievement, progression, purpose, staff engagement and productivity gains to name but a few independently verified. Care, compassion and an hour a week are the only ingredients required. Positive human relationships will drive and power progress and allow us to establish a world leading well-being economy. Imagine that.

Let’s stand in admiration, and not in judgment of those in the midst of and overcoming adversity daily. Let’s not isolate them but engage, inspire and learn from their lived experience. As

we approach elections give a platform to those that speak of and mean collaborative partnerships as the way out of the Covid chaos. Those that know economic success really matters and can be fused with social justice.

Condemnation, complaint and criticism cannot be allowed to dominate the agendas, column inches and airwaves. Time to move on, Scotland deserves better.

Iain MacRitchie is an entrepreneur, founder and chairman of MCR Pathways and a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde. He is also an Oversight Board member of The Promise tasked with holding Scotland to account for

the delivery of The Care Review.