Scotland business

Scottish economy growth 'fastest in two years'

Construction worker Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The construction industry had a healthy first quarter

Total output from the Scottish economy grew at its fastest pace for two years in the first three months of 2019.

Gross Domestic Product was up 0.5% - the same rate of growth as the UK.

The period was the lead up to the expected date for Brexit, with manufacturers stockpiling goods in an attempt to handle disruption to trade.

That boosted output for the whole economy, with the second quarter of the year expected to show slower growth as stocks wind down.

Construction also had a healthy first quarter, while the dominant services sector saw barely any growth.

'Strength to strength'

More than half of the growth in January to March was due to a boost to the food and drink sector, led by whisky and salmon, as well as petro-chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

The Scottish government said the growth, combined with a record high employment rate of 75.9%, was evidence of the economy going from strength to strength.

The UK government welcomed the latest figures, but said it was concerned that Scotland "had not matched the UK growth rate over the past 12 months".

Image copyright Getty Images

Scotland's Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: "We have provided more than £5bn of capital investment to build and modernise Scotland's infrastructure, and a wider package of support to businesses, including maintaining a competitive business rates package and providing the most generous package of non-domestic rates reliefs anywhere in the UK."

He added: "The months and years ahead are crucial as we continue to invest in and grow the economy.

"However, the UK government's EU exit plans, in whatever form, will damage the Scottish economy."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell defended the UK government's investment in Scotland - including the £1.3bn city and growth deal programme.

He said: "I'd urge the Scottish government to work with us and to use the powers at their disposal to best effect.

"It is increasingly clear their threats of a second independence referendum and the decision to make Scotland the most highly-taxed part of the UK are holding our economy back."

Related Topics