Covid Scotland: Return of GDP to pre-pandemic levels 'fantastic news', says Kate Forbes

Scotland’s GDP has returned to pre-pandemic levels, after figures showed the economy grew by 0.8 per cent in November.

New data from the Scottish Government revealed GDP was now 0.6 per cent above the level it was at in February 2020, before coronavirus hit.

Economy secretary Kate Forbes said this return to pre-Covid levels was “fantastic news”, but with some restrictions still in place, she also stressed the ongoing economic recovery “remains fragile”.

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Finance secretary Kate Forbes. Picture: PA

As it stands, economic growth in Scotland is slightly behind that in the UK as a whole, with the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showing an increase of 0.9 per cent in November, leaving UK GDP 0.7 per cent above the level recorded in February 2020.

In Scotland, the November figures showed that output in the services sector, which accounts for around three quarters of the economy, increased by 0.5 per cent over the month.

Meanwhile, the production sector recorded growth of 1.7 per cent, with construction up by 3.6 per cent.

Over the three months of September to November, GDP was estimated to have risen by 1.3 per cent – with the Scottish Government report saying this marked a “slight pick-up in growth”.

Ms Forbes said: “This is fantastic news for the Scottish economy, with Scottish GDP estimates now above pre-pandemic levels.

“It reveals the fundamental underlying strengths of the Scottish economy.”

However, she added: “While we know our economic recovery remains fragile, not least due to the recent necessary public health measures introduced in response to the Omicron variant, we can be confident that these latest GDP estimates signal a return to pre-pandemic levels.”

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