SCC comment on latest scottish economic data

Commenting on the publication of new data on Scotland’s unemployment and economic growth, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

On Scottish unemployment:

“The bad news is that Scotland continues to underperform the UK in terms of both unemployment and employment rates. In particular, between 2015 and 2016, Scotland’s employment rate has fallen, whereas the UK rate has risen steadily. It is clear that much of the reason for this has been the downturn in the oil and gas sector and its knock-on effect upon the rest of our economy, since this forms a larger proportion of the Scottish economy than it does for the UK as a whole. We are hopeful that this decline has begun to bottom out and that an eventual recovery may be on the horizon but if Scotland’s businesses are to invest and grow, then Government needs to ensure that we have the most competitive business environment in the UK.”

On Scottish GDP:

“It is very disappointing that Scotland’s economic growth slowed in the third quarter of 2016 and continues to trail the UK as a whole, where growth remained steady during the same period. Over the year as whole, Scotland’s growth has been 0.7%, compared to a far healthier UK rate of 2.2%. Scottish Government actions must be aimed squarely at increasing this rate of growth and utilising the powers at its disposal to support businesses, giving them the edge over businesses in other parts of the UK and enabling them to grow. As the Scottish Parliament prepares to debate the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget for the year ahead, we would ask our politicians to consider carefully whether each measure proposed will make it easier for businesses to succeed, or make it more difficult. Scotland has more devolved economic powers than ever and they must be used effectively to deliver the business growth we so badly need.”