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Recession woes not over yet

Brian Taylor | 12:17 UK time, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

And so the UK is finally out of recession, the longest such decline since quarterly figures were first recorded in 1955.

However, the growth rate is lower than some forecast - which leaves the impression of a still sickly patient.

Further, we don't yet know if the economy in Scotland is back on an upward path.

Scottish unemployment has been below the UK average - and employment above.
Still, there remain concerns on a number of fronts.

Firstly, the impact of the crunch upon Scotland's finance sector - although analysts insist that, here, Scotland is more than the sum of its two once mighty banks.

Secondly, the question of whether Scots companies can enhance their global competitiveness.

Not bad just isn't good enough: never was. Are there industrial leaders who can mount a global challenge?

Tough times

Thirdly, there remains political controversy, both at the UK and Scottish levels, with regard to the stimulus of the economy and public spending.

Scotland is relatively dependent upon public sector funding. That has tended to cushion us in tough times but, some argue, undermines our capacity for an agile response to the search for economic upturn.

Either way, with MSPs embroiled in considering next year's Scottish spending plans, the issue is likely to feature substantially in the coming economic discussions.

Not just for next year but, much more significantly, for the decade ahead.

With public spending set to decline, Scotland can grimace and grouse.

Recovery prospects

Or she can opt to reshape the nature of public expenditure, searching afresh for authentic priorities which stimulate the economy and remove unwarranted programmes.

Then, of course, there will be a renewed debate about Scotland's economic powers. Nationalists will advocate fiscal autonomy leading to independence.

Unionists will argue that would jeopardise the prospects of recovery.

Today is very, very far from the end of the story.


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