Scottish economic growth outpacing the UK

Written by Michelle Rodger

The Scottish economy has grown faster than the UK’s and is double the estimated level in the first quarter of 2018.

The Scottish Government issued revised figures for GDP in the first three months of the year showing it grew by 0.4%, twice the UK rate of 0.2%.

Scottish GDP growth, which was estimated in June to have been 0.2% in the first quarter, was uprated after fresh data and improved methods were incorporated.

The Quarterly National Accounts Scotland (QNAS) also updated the last year of Scottish GDP growth from 0.8% to 1.3%. An uptick in North Sea growth and exports were partly responsible.

Much of the growth was driven by manufacturing exports, particularly food and drink and engineering products, which increased by 3.6 per cent, although this followed a drop of 3.7 per cent in the previous quarter.

On a rolling annual basis, the volume of manufactured exports increased by 8.7 per cent. Output in the production sector grew by one per cent, output in the services sector grew by 0.4 per cent, but output in the construction sector fell by 1.4 per cent. However, the figure for construction has been revised up from a first estimate of -3.5 per cent due to data updates and methodology improvements in calculating the figures..

QNAS put Scotland’s onshore GDP in 2017-18 at £156.5billionn, or £28,797 per person, or £170.4bn (£31,367 per person). With the oil price revival, North Sea related GDP grew by 14% over the last year, with tax revenues rising from almost nil in 2015/16 and 2016/17 to £1.33bn in 2017-18.

With GERS due out next week it’s worth noting two things, firstly that Scottish voters were told in the 2014 independence referendum that Scotland’s economy was dependent on high oil prices. Secondly that non-North Sea Government revenue increased a record 6.1% on 2015/16   This proves beyond all doubt that Scotland’s onshore economy is robust and able to withstand oil price volatility and so busts the myth that Scotland’s economy is in any way dependant on oil.



About the author

Michelle Rodger

Michelle is a former national newspaper journalist who co-founded an award-winning IT business before launching Tartan Cat Communications. A social media and crowdfunding expert she manages media and communications for Business for Scotland.

1 Comment

  • This report is good news for the economic case for independence. However when The GERS figures are released they may well show Scotland running a deficit above the EU requirement of 3% which will be used by Unionists as the economic argument against independence. Independence minded economists need to start ripping GERS apart and tell us how much expenditure is linked to Scotland but actually spent for eg infrastructure in other parts of the UK? Or how much tax revenue raised in Scotland is actually attributed to rUK because of where companies are actually based? How can GERS be accurately assessed by using UK averages based on 8.3% of the population?Why are we not demanding government revenue and expenditure figures for other areas of the UK? Can some clever economist shed some light on these questions?

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