Scotland business

Scotland's economy grows by 0.2%

Welder Image copyright Thinkstock

Scotland's economy grew by 0.2% in the last quarter of 2015 but trailed the UK's performance as a whole, according to official figures.

On an annual basis, Scottish Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.9%.

By comparison, UK GDP grew by 0.6% over the final quarter and by 2.1% on an annual basis.

Scotland's services sector grew by 0.3% during the latest period, while the production sector contracted by 0.1%. Construction output expanded by 0.1%.

The previous quarter's estimate was revised down by Scotland's chief statistician from +0.1% to -0.1%, ending a sequence of 11 straight quarters of growth north of the border.

Meanwhile, the growth rate for the first quarter of last year was revised up - from 0.6% to 0.7%.

Image caption Source: Scotland's chief statistician

Scotland's services sector - which accounted for three-quarters of the Scottish economy in 2012 - expanded slightly in the final quarter of 2015.

However, there was a contraction in Retail and Wholesale (-0.5%), Professional, Scientific, Administrative and Support Services (-0.5%) and Public Administration and Defence (-0.2%).

This was countered by growth in sectors such as Accommodation and Food Services (0.3%), Transport, Storage and Communication (1.5%) and Financial and Insurance Activities (1.4%).

The production sector saw growth in Manufacturing (0.3%) and Water Supply and Waste Management (1.9%), but there was a contraction in Mining and Quarrying Industries (-2.3%) and Electricity and Gas Supply (-0.8%).

Within manufacturing there were contractions in sectors such as Textiles, Clothing and Leather Products (-1.2%) and Computer, Electrical and Optical Products (-4%).

However, there was growth in Refined Petroleum, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Production (5.3%), Transport Equipment (1%), and Food, Beverages and Tobacco (1.6%).

'Low ebb'

Responding to the figures, Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale said: "Retail sales in Scotland have consistently been at a low ebb over recent years, with retailers having to work ever harder to maintain let alone grow sales at a time of profound structural, economic and regulatory change for the industry.

"Retailers are responding positively to these changes and becoming more productive by investing in new technology, a higher skilled workforce and revamped logistics capabilities.

"However that is all the more challenging when retail sales are weak, shop prices are falling and government-imposed tax and regulatory costs are mushrooming."

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