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[ 11-10-2012 ]

Scottish Chambers of Commerce have today (Thursday) released their Business Survey results for the third quarter of 2012.  The survey, conducted in conjunction with the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute, reports a further and more widespread weakening in activity in the Scottish economy in the third quarter of 2012, and more cautious outlook for the fourth quarter with fewer signs of any upturn in business sentiment and activity.   
Garry Clark, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Our latest survey suggests that many Scottish businesses experienced deteriorating business conditions in the third quarter and have revised downwards their expectations for the fourth quarter and first half of 2013. Once again, with few exceptions, demand remains weak and inadequate and the sense of an economy stagnating appears more widespread.
“The manufacturing sector reported, as expected, leaner times, with weaker trends in both domestic and export orders. Expectations as to the trends in orders for the year ahead are at their weakest for two years, with few respondents anticipating improving export activity as the slowdown in the international economy continues.
“The survey also reveals a marked summer downturn in the Scottish tourism sector.  The combination of poor weather, impact of the Olympics on tourism numbers together with weak business demand and consumer uncertainty contributed to many respondents reporting a weakening in visitor demand, reduced visitor expenditure and an increased need to reduce room rates.
“Activity in construction remains depressed.  We have consistently argued that increased capital spending is necessary to bring about the infrastructure improvements that Scotland needs in transport, energy generation and transmission.  Governments need to take steps to bring forward and approve a programme of capital infrastructure improvements that will bring long term benefits to the Scottish and UK economies.  Whilst the Scottish Government has had a strong track record in prioritising infrastructure investment, it urgently needs to reconsider its plans to axe £350 million of investment from its project to extend the electrification of the central Scotland rail network.  Scotland simply cannot afford to throw such investment opportunities away.  Also the Scottish Government’s forthcoming Procurement Reform Bill needs to ensure that, in future, Scottish businesses reap more of the rewards from Scottish public sector contracts.
“At a UK level, it is now imperative that the Chancellor takes the opportunity to deliver a boost to capital investment in his Autumn Statement.”