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Forbes welcomes figures showing return to growth for Scotland’s economy

GDP in Scotland rose 0.7% in the first quarter of 2024 (Alamy/PA)
GDP in Scotland rose 0.7% in the first quarter of 2024 (Alamy/PA)

Scotland’s economy grew by 0.7% in the first three months of this year after contracting at the end of 2023.

Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes, who is also Economy Secretary in the Scottish Government, welcomed the return to growth “despite the challenging global economic conditions we continue to face”.

Her comments came after the latest figures from the Scottish Government showed Scotland had slightly outperformed the UK in terms of economic growth in the period January to March.

GDP in Scotland grew by 0.7% over the period, after falling 0.5% between October and December 2023.

Across the UK, GDP grew 0.6% in the first quarter of 2024, after declining 0.3% in the final three months of last year.

(PA Graphics)

The Scottish figures show while output in the construction sector fell 0.9% in the latest quarter, there was growth of 0.5% in the services sector – which makes up the majority of the country’s economy. In addition, the production sector grew by 2.1%.

Overall, the economy is estimated to have grown 0.2% over the course of the last year.

Ms Forbes said it is “encouraging to see growth across the majority of services, particularly the retail sector, as well as the wholesale and motor trades, and health and social work sectors”.

She said experts at the Scottish Fiscal Commission and the Fraser of Allander Institute have projected overall growth of 0.6% and 0.7% respectively for Scotland in 2024 – with this then forecast to rise to 1.1% next year.

The Deputy First Minister added: “The Scottish Government is investing over £5 billion through its 2024-25 budget to drive an economy that is fair, green and growing.”