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Scotland’s GDP growing at faster rate than UK economy, official figures show

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay welcomed the figures and said the Scottish Government would continue to support business and job growth.

The latest figures on the economy were published on Wednesday (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The latest figures on the economy were published on Wednesday (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The rate of growth in the Scottish economy has overtaken that of the UK, according to official statistics.

Figures published on Wednesday show that in the fourth quarter of last year, Scotland’s GDP rose by 0.3%.

It is above the GDP growth for the UK over the same period, which was 0.2%.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay welcomed the figures and said the Scottish Government would continue to support business and job growth.

The value of Scotland’s GDP is estimated at £178.6 billion, or £32,800 per person, including oil and gas extraction in Scottish waters.

Analysis suggests the most influential industry sector in Scotland last year was in manufacturing, with output increasing by 3.2% in total.

Strong increases in the manufacture of computer, electrical and optical products, as well as in the food and drink industry, were recorded.

On average, over the three years from 2015 to 2017, Scottish GDP has grown by 0.8% a year.

The growth in 2018 (1.3%) is higher than the recent average growth rate, indicating an improvement in the economy.

Over the 30 years from 1988 to 2018, average growth has been 1.7% a year.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said:  “I am encouraged by the latest GDP figures which show Scotland’s economy continuing to grow.

“UK Government support in the Budget and Spring Statement – and our investment of more than £1.35bn in city and growth deals – is having a big impact.

“As the Scottish economy hasn’t shown the same growth as the UK’s over the past few years it is important that the Scottish Government uses its powers effectively to close the gap.

“By making Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK they risk damaging, rather than growing, our economy.”

When we look at the annual growth, it does appear that Scotland’s economy, like that of the UK, is in recovery mode. Lindsay Gardiner, PwC Scotland

Lindsay Gardiner, chairman of PwC Scotland, said despite the stronger economic performance in Scotland, uncertainty remains over the future outlook.

He said: “Today’s growth figures remain pretty weak, reflecting the pattern of the past year.

“While the marginally stronger performance of the Scottish economy in this quarter relative to the UK as a whole is welcome, the outlook remains uncertain.

“When we look at the annual growth, it does appear that Scotland’s economy, like that of the UK, is in recovery mode.

“Having averaged 0.8% in the years between 2015 and 2017, the economy grew by 1.3% in 2018, led by a strong acceleration in manufacturing, which helped outweigh a decline in the construction industry.

“PwC has predicted a slip to 1.2% in 2019 before accelerating to 1.6% in 2020, in line with the UK as the headwinds caused by Brexit uncertainty come to a head.”

PA

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