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GDP FIGURES REVEAL SLUGGISH ECONOMY AND UNDERLINE NEED FOR TARGETED SUPPORT

[ 01-02-2013 ]

Commenting on the news that the Scottish economy grew by 0.6% in the third quarter of 2012, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
 
“The news that the Scottish economy grew in the third quarter of last year is not unexpected.  At the time when the figures for the UK were published last October, it was estimated that the distortion to the figures caused by having an additional bank holiday in the preceding quarter was around +0.5%.  This is similarly a factor in Scotland and therefore what this figure tells us is that the underlying performance of the Scottish economy remains pretty much flat.
 
“With our own Scottish Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Business Survey projecting only a marginal improvement in output and confidence in the early part of 2013, these latest figures underline the picture of an economy that has been treading water for an extended period of time.  This is largely as a result of subdued demand. 
 
“The good news is that there is capacity for growth in our economy and that businesses across the country are well placed to take advantage of the new opportunities that will arise from an upturn in demand.  Average household disposable income grew marginally in Scotland last year and there remains significant opportunity available to businesses in terms of overseas sales.  Coupled with the right level of support from Government, we are confident that meaningful growth can return to our economy, but 2013 will be a challenging year.
 
“One of the areas of great potential for 2013 is tourism, as we look to take advantage of the Olympics, Disney Pixar’s Brave and the Year of Natural Scotland to showcase our country’s unique tourist offering.  Our tourism sector could be transformed if the UK Government was to reduce VAT levels for the tourism and hospitality sector, as most of our European neighbours do, helping to deliver a significant competitive advantage to our tourism sector.”

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