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Scotland’s economy on ‘road to recovery’

A growth in construction has aided Scotland's recovery. Picture: PA

A growth in construction has aided Scotland's recovery. Picture: PA

  • by SCOTT MACNAB
 

Scotland is on the “road to recovery” with the economy having enjoyed continuous growth for 18 months in a row, official figures showed yesterday.

And the revival is expected to continue throughout 2014, according to finance leaders, with all sectors of industry performing strongly.

The economy expanded by 0.7 per cent between July and September last year, meaning Scotland has enjoyed growth for the past six quarters.

The trend follows one of the worst recessions in modern history, which saw the country plunge in and out of downturn in the years after the 2008 banking crash.

Scotland’s finance secretary, John Swinney, said the revival showed a “further strengthening in Scotland’s economy with the recovery accelerating, even against a backdrop of continuing economic challenges”.

The rise in Scottish GDP for the third quarter of 2013 was slightly less than it was for the UK as a whole, where GDP grew by 0.8 per cent over the period.

But the latest figures showed GDP north of the Border was 2.1 per cent up on the same period in 2012. Over the three months from July to September, both the

services sector in Scotland – which accounts for almost three-quarters of the economy – and the construction sector north of the Border grew by 0.7 per cent, while the Scottish production sector expanded by 0.6 per cent.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said the “excellent growth figures” showed that the Scottish economy had increased for the last six consecutive quarters. She added there was “every possibility” this growth would continue when the figures for the final quarter of last year are published in April.

Ms Cameron said: “The good news is that growth is widely based across a large number of sectors, although much of the growth remains rooted in

increasing levels of consumer demand. As we enter 2014, we are looking for increased evidence of rising investment to provide a solid basis for continued growth.”

Mr Swinney said: “Growth in Scotland’s economy has increased and strengthened over the last 18 months, and this Scottish Government will continue to support growth in key areas to boost Scotland’s success.

“The emerging picture from recent business surveys also supports our confidence in the recovery.”

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said the “positive GDP figures show that Scotland is firmly on the road to recovery as part of the UK”.

The UK government minister added: “Despite uncertain global conditions it is welcome news that Scotland’s economy has continued to grow into the second half of 2013. This government’s long-term economic plan is working, and Scotland’s economy is successful and stronger as part of the UK, with its security, scale and influence. The UK’s economic growth is now stronger than the main economies in Europe, the deficit is falling and jobs are being created.”

Calum Brewster, regional head, Scotland & Northern Ireland, Barclays Wealth and Investment Management said the good times look set to continue. He said: “The growth in Scottish GDP is welcome and we expect to see this upward trend continue into 2014 in the domestic and global economy.

“In the UK, burgeoning consumer confidence and a housing market finally showing signs of life will be boosted by yesterday’s announcement that consumer price inflation has hit its 2 per cent target for the first time in four years.

“Developed world GDP seems likely to accelerate in the year ahead, from 1.0 to 1.9 per cent.”

 

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