THE SCOTTISH ECONOMY is in a desperate state. It has long been lagging behind the UK economy but now the prognosis must be considered as dire. In 2019 Scotland’s GDP was 8 per cent lower that of the UK as a whole. While GDP in the UK grew at a rate of 1.7 per cent between 2000 and 2019, in Scotland it grew at a much smaller 1.3 per cent. Employment from 2000 to 2019 grew at 0.9 per cent in the UK as a whole, but only at 0.6 per cent in Scotland.
People might think this is small beer, that the economy will naturally pick up or there are other issues that must take priority – such as secession from the UK – but whatever one’s political views the hard fact is it is only a growing economy that makes it possible for public services to help the disadvantaged – while a shrinking economy must result in belt-tightening austerity.
Tightening the belt around your waistline might be uncomfortable in the belief you might adjust or be able to loosen it in time, but tightening a straitjacket that restricts your ability to exist is beyond sense. The economic statistics now tell us we have moved from the former to the latter.