PwC forecasts growth for Scottish economy
A leading accountancy firm has said Scotland's economy is set to outperform Wales, Northern Ireland and the north-east of England.
PwC's latest UK Economic Outlook report projects GDP growth of 1.8% for Scotland in 2016.
The equivalent figure for Wales is 1.7%, and for Northern Ireland it is 1.4%. North-east England is predicted to see 1.7% growth.
The average UK growth figure is predicted to be stronger, at 2.2%.
PwC Scotland regional chairman Lindsay Gardiner said: "It is not only promising to see Scotland continuing to grow but also to look ahead and see education and health set to be large employment sectors.
Mr Gardiner added: "In general the growth rate has been slow - in part due to weak consumer growth thanks to reduced spending - but exports and investment are holding their own for now."
The report identified danger areas for the Scottish economy. These included:
- Slow employment growth
- Sluggish business growth
- Low spending on research and development
Mr Gardiner picked out the relative lack of investment in research and development as a key concern.
He said: "This in part reflects the decline of manufacturing, where there has traditionally been high spending in R&D, but as we transition to a more digital and flexible economy, we need to accept that spending in R&D must be far higher in all sectors to encourage growth."