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Kate Forbes welcomes ‘encouraging’ GDP growth of 0.4%

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes hailed the ‘strength and resilience’ of Scotland’s economic sector (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes hailed the ‘strength and resilience’ of Scotland’s economic sector (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

The Finance Secretary has hailed the “strength and resilience” of Scotland’s economic sector as the latest GDP figures showed a growth of 0.4% in February.

Monthly data showed the country’s economy was 1.3% above the level it was in February 2020, before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The statistics from the Scottish Government showed that the service sector, which accounts for around three-quarters of the economy, grew by 0.7% in February.

Shoppers on Buchanan Street
The statistics show the economy is above pre-pandemic levels by 1.3% (Jane Barlow/PA)

Output in consumer-facing services grew by 2.1%, while health, education and public services saw a fall of 1.2%.

The production sector saw an increase of 0.3% over the month, while construction sector output fell by 0.1%.

The figures indicated a “slight slowdown” in growth for the first quarter so far, with GDP estimated to have grown by 1.1% in the three months to February after an increase of 1.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said the figures were “encouraging”, but she warned that Scotland’s recovery from the impact of Covid “remains fragile”.

Ms Forbes said: “As we continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, growth of 0.4% in February shows the strength and resilience of Scotland’s businesses and our wider economy, driven by increasing output in professional, scientific and technical services, as well as in accommodation and food services.

“It is encouraging to see monthly GDP is now 1.3% above the pre-pandemic level of February 2020.

“While our recovery remains fragile and we continue to face challenges from EU exit, the rising cost of living and the impacts of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Scottish Government is firmly focused on supporting our economy to recover.

“Since the start of the pandemic, businesses have benefitted from more than £4.5 billion of support, including around £1.6 billion in rates relief.

“The National Strategy for Economic Transformation is fundamental to building on our progress, growing our economy and supporting our transition to a greener, fairer and more prosperous Scotland.”

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