Scotland business

Scottish economy expands by 1%

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Media captionProduction rose by 2.1% in Scotland in the first quarter of the year

The Scottish economy grew by 1% in the first quarter of the year and has now grown past its pre-recession level, according to figures published by the Scottish government.

On an annual basis, GDP was up by 2.6%, compared with the same quarter in 2013.

The services sector grew by 0.9% and production by 2.1% but construction contracted by 1%.

According to Scotland's chief statistician, output in Scotland is now 0.4% above its pre-recession level.

'Important stage'

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the figures marked "an important stage" in Scotland's economic recovery.

He added: "Nearly six years on from the start of the financial crisis, our economy is now larger than before the downturn.

"Output in Scotland is at record levels and we have exceeded our pre-recession peak at least one quarter ahead of the UK.

"Over the last quarter the improvement in our economy has been broad-based with welcome signs of growth in manufacturing, which was up 3.4% and services which account for over 70% of our economy up 0.9%.

"Today's output figures are supported by new labour market data which show employment has reached a new record in Scotland with our economic activity rate also hitting a record high."

'Positive news'

Responding to the new figures, a UK government spokesman said: "The government welcomes more positive news on the Scottish economy, with 1% growth in the first quarter of 2014.

"This shows the government's long term economic plan is working for both the UK and Scottish economy."

Grahame Smith, general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, said: "It is good that Scottish GDP is now above pre-recession levels.

"However it is complacent and somewhat misleading to crow about record levels of output.

"The truth of the matter is that the economy may never recover output lost due to the recession and the prolonged period of stagnation that followed.

"Manufacturing has yet to recover and there are precious few signs of sustainable 'rebalancing'."

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