Scotland business

Growth in Scottish economy slows

grangemoth Image copyright PA
Image caption The slowdown was partly due to the industrial dispute at the Grangemouth complex

The Scottish economy grew at a slower pace than the UK as a whole in the final three months of 2013, according to official figures.

Scottish GDP expanded by 0.2%, compared with growth of 0.7% in the UK.

Growth was affected by a sharp fall in production at the Grangemouth petrochemicals complex during an industrial dispute.

Output in petrochemicals fell by 10.8%, reducing headline growth in Scotland by an estimated 0.2%.

On an annual basis, GDP grew by 1.7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.

Estimates by Scottish government statisticians indicated the production sector contracted by 0.7% and construction by 1% in the final quarter of 2013.

Sectoral growth

The services sector, which accounts for nearly three quarters of the Scottish economy, grew by 0.6% over the same period.

The fastest sectoral growth over the quarter was seen in Transport, Storage and Communications (+1.7%) and in Mining and Quarrying (+2.9%).

Meanwhile, Scottish GDP growth in the second quarter of 2013 was revised from +0.6% to +0.4%. The figure for the fourth quarter of 2012 was revised from +0.4% to +0.6%.

The UK government's Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, said the Scottish GDP figures highlighted the damaging impact of the industrial dispute at Grangemouth last October.

He added: "It is concerning to see the impact this one industrial dispute had on Scotland's economic performance.

"This danger was diminished, of course, by the fact that Scotland is an integral part of the UK economy and that we are currently contributing to the fastest growing economy in the G7.

"This is where we want to be."

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Last year's temporary shutdown at Grangemouth had a substantial effect on our economy, but even with that there have been strong signs of recovery and 2013 saw the fastest annual growth since 2007.

"We expect to see a further increase on these figures in the first quarter of 2014 figures which are due in July.

"Both the labour market figures and GDP statistics paint a picture of recovery in Scotland.

"However, with the full fiscal and economic powers of independence, the Scottish government could do so much more to strengthen our economy and create more jobs."

'Economic rebalancing'

The latest GDP figures were published as official data showed a small rise in the Scottish unemployment total.

Reacting to the figures, the Federation of Small Businesses said the increase in the number of people seeking employment showed that Scotland still faced "a big economic challenge".

Scottish policy convener Andy Willox added: "While the recovery is neither guaranteed nor uniform, moderate growth and steady job-creation figures are welcome news".

Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary Grahame Smith said: "STUC is not unduly concerned by the fact that Scottish GDP growth in the last quarter of 2013 was much lower than for the UK as a whole.

"We expect growth to catch up in the subsequent quarter.

"Far more concerning is the overall lack of evidence of economic rebalancing in Scotland and across the whole of the UK."

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