SNP stewardship of economy blamed for £6.5bn of lost growth

Scotland's sluggish economy under the SNP leadership has cost £6.5 billion in missing growth, Labour has claimed.
Scotland's economy continues to be sluggish. Picture: Lisa FergusonScotland's economy continues to be sluggish. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Scotland's economy continues to be sluggish. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Failure to return to growth levels seen before the recession in 2008 means that Scotland’s economy is billions of pounds smaller than it would have been.

Figures produced for Labour from the House of Commons library suggest lost GDP growth amount to £3bn a year since 2013, or £6.5bn since 2011.

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It follows a recent report from the Fraser of Allander Institute noting that Scotland’s annualised growth rate since 2007 was 0.7 per cent, less than a third of the 2.3 per cent long-term increase in GDP from 1964 to the year the SNP were elected.

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A widening gap in growth rates has raised fears of the Scottish economy being left behind by the rest of the UK.

Scottish Government figures last week confirmed that the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in the last quarter of 2016, compared with growth of 0.7 per cent across the UK.

For the whole of 2016, the UK economy grew by 1.9 per cent, while Scottish output was flat.

Labour economy spokesman Jackie Baillie claimed the economy had lost out from the SNP putting independence before jobs and investment.

She said: “Since 2011, the SNP has been plotting to break up the UK while passing on Tory cuts when it should have been governing the country.

“The substantial new powers over income tax coming to the Scottish Parliament will render such negligence increasingly unaffordable.

“Scotland will now have far greater responsibility for raising what it spends, and lower growth will mean lower tax revenues and less money to spend on vital public services.”

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A spokesman for Keith Brown, the economy secretary, said Scotland faces “continued headwinds” from the slowdown in North Sea oil and gas and weak global demand.

“Jackie Baillie seems to have forgotten that the recession she talks about was of course brought about by the last Labour government, and years of Tory austerity since then – often supported by the Labour Party – has seen billions removed from Scotland’s economy and severely inhibited the economic recovery.” He added that “the foundations of our economy are strong”.