Finance

Forbes says economy’s return to pre-Covid GDP is ‘fantastic news’



Scotland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has returned to pre-pandemic levels, as the economy grew by 0.8% in November.

New data from the Scottish Government revealed that GDP was now 0.6% above the level it was at in February 2020, before the coronavirus crisis began.

Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said this was “fantastic news” but, with some restrictions still in place, she also stressed the ongoing economic recovery “remains fragile”.

As it stands, economic growth in Scotland is slightly behind that in the UK as a whole, with the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showing an increase of 0.9% in November, leaving UK GDP 0.7% above the level recorded in February 2020.

In Scotland, the November figures showed that output in the services sector, which accounts for around three quarters of the economy, increased by 0.5% over the month.

Meanwhile, the production sector recorded growth of 1.7%, with construction up by 3.6%.

Over the three months of September to November, GDP was estimated to have risen by 1.3% – with the Scottish Government report saying this marked a “slight pick-up in growth”.

Forbes said: “The Scottish Government remains firmly focused on supporting our economy to fully recover and that is why we are working with businesses to invest in growth.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack called the figures “encouraging”, adding that: “The UK Government is continuing to support people and businesses in all parts of the UK to help ensure a strong recovery.

“In addition, we are investing in communities right across Scotland, including through £191m in direct UK Government grants and £1.5bn being invested in Scottish Growth Deals.

“Our Levelling Up White paper, to be published shortly, will set out how we will ensure all parts of the UK thrive and prosper.”

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