Scots economy outstrips annual UK growth over the past year

Scotland's economy has outstripped growth across the UK over the past year, revised figures show.
Scots growth is now ahead of the UKScots growth is now ahead of the UK
Scots growth is now ahead of the UK

GDP north of the border increased by 0.4% in the first quarter of the year - revised up from previous estimates 0.2%, official figures show.

This means the economy north of the border expanded by 1.3% over the year to April, compared with growth of 1.2% UK-wide.

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The rest of the UK grew by just 0.2% in the first three months of the year.

A booming export picture in Scotland is helping to drive the upturn, with a 3.6% hike in manufactured goods such as whisky being sold around the world.

Finance secretary Derek Mackay said the figures were “hugely encouraging.”

He added: “The Scottish Government will continue to focus on growing Scotland’s economy. We are investing a record £2.4 billion in enterprise and skills, £4 billion in infrastructure and delivering the most competitive package of rates relief in the UK, including the Small Business Bonus, which to date has saved Scottish firms almost £1.5 billion.”

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The UK economy did pick up between April and June with growth of 0.4%. The Scottish figures have not yet been published for this period.

The value of Scotland’s onshore GDP is estimated at £156.5 billion in total, or £28,797 per person, during 2017/18. Including a geographical share of North Sea oil and gas, this rises to £170.4 billion in total, or £31,367 per person.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Cahmbers of Commerce said the improving manufacturing performance was “great news” for the economy.

But she added: “Concerns remain that the construction industry continues to experience falls in output, with GDP also remaining below historical growth trends.

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“The upcoming Programme for Government presents a critical opportunity for the Scottish Government to invest in our national infrastructure, in order to jumpstart our construction sector and provide the foundation for increased growth rates for the entire economy.

Leading economist Professor John McLaren of the Scottish Trends think tank said the figures mean average annual growth in the Scots economy since the start of the decade is about 1%, which marks decline on pervious years.

“The revised figures for Scottish GDP show a better performance of late than had been previously estimated but the post recession performance remains poor, in fact overall worse than before,” he said.