Scots economy sees fastest GDP growth in 7 years

SCOTLAND’S economy has seen the fastest growth in GDP in almost seven years, the First Minister declared.

Alex Salmond, pictured ahead of a speech at the STUC conference. Picture: PA
Alex Salmond, pictured ahead of a speech at the STUC conference. Picture: PA

Alex Salmond said the country’s economic performance “continues to go from strength to strength” after official figures revealed GDP rose by 0.9 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

That growth matches that of the UK, and means GDP in Scotland is 2.6 per cent up on the period April to June last year.

The services sector, which accounts for almost three quarters of the economy north of the border, grew by 0.9 per cent over the latest quarter, while the production sector was up 0.3 per cent and the construction sector increased by 3.6 per cent.

Mr Salmond welcomed the figures, and said: “Scotland’s economy continues to go from strength to strength, with growth of 0.9 per cent over the last three months and 2.6 per cent in the last year.”

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He added: “In the months running up to the referendum, Scotland’s economy was powering forward, with this April - June quarter showing the fastest annual growth in GDP since late 2007.”

The outgoing First Minister said this showed “political confidence and economic confidence go hand in hand”.

Liz Cameron, the chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, also welcomed the rise in GDP, saying: “Scotland’s economy has now grown for eight consecutive quarters and our growth rates in 2014 so far have been equal to or higher than those of the UK as a whole.”

She added: “Expectations are that the rate of growth we have experienced in the first six months of the year may not quite be replicated in the second half of the year, but nonetheless this latest rise in GDP is an extremely positive sign that the Scottish economy has the potential to sustain growth over the medium term.”

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Despite that, Ms Cameron cautioned that there are still some threats remaining to the economy “not least as a result of the downgrades to the economic outlooks of the eurozone, Russia, the Middle East and Japan”.