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[ 18-07-2012 ]

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce believe that today’s GDP and unemployment figures present an increasingly heartening picture for much of the Scottish economy.   

Liz Cameron, Scottish Chambers of Commerce Chief Executive, said: 
“Taken together, these figures illustrate what we have been hearing from our Chambers of Commerce members, reflecting the trends identified in our Quarterly Business Survey, published last week.  We have a pretty flat economy but there are sectors in Scotland seeing increasing growth and success.” 
On the quarterly Scottish GDP figures, Liz Cameron commented: 
“Talk of technical recession based on two quarters’ figures risks masking the bigger picture.  The fact is that GDP is changing only marginally and the economy is on a pretty flat path.  However, comparing these figures with the same quarter last year, we do see slight growth, over the twelve months, which is to be welcomed.   
“Looking a little deeper, it is apparent that most sectors are, in fact, experiencing some growth.  The overall figure is down due to the continuing difficulties faced by the construction sector.  This is an area where government investment in infrastructure can have a positive effect; we need to see the pledged Government projects get underway for the construction industry to reap the practical benefits of what are welcome commitments to invest. 
“To improve economic growth, we all need to make sure we work that bit smarter, making the most of opportunities to grow through export, or innovation.  The public sector absolutely must do its bit here, ensuring that it maximises the impact of every pound of the significant amount it spends procuring goods and services.  Public sector procurement is an important lever at the public sector’s disposal to boost Scottish business, Scottish jobs and the Scottish economy – Scottish Chambers of Commerce, on behalf of Scottish business, call on the public sector to use this lever to step up and do their bit for our economy.” 
On the Scottish unemployment figures published today, Liz Cameron commented: 
“Scottish unemployment has seen yet another very welcome fall, down 0.2 % to 8%.  Unemployment in Scotland is now slightly lower than that in the UK as a whole.   
“However, young people still make up a disproportionate tranche of the total number of unemployed people, and continued focus on this issue is necessary.  Scottish Chambers of Commerce have recently launched a Graduate Incentive programme in partnership with the Scottish government.  This will link up our brightest young graduates with the small businesses that make up such a huge proportion of the Scottish business base by supporting these businesses to create new, graduate-level jobs.”