Fraser of Allander Institute : Economic Commentary [December 2017]

Fraser of Allander Institute; (2017) Fraser of Allander Institute : Economic Commentary [December 2017]. [Report]

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    Abstract

    This week's Scottish Budget (14.12.17) comes at a crucial time for Scotland's economy. With Brexit uncertainty continuing to cast a shadow, plus a gloomier outlook for UK productivity, the Budget provides an important opportunity for the Scottish Government to set out their plans to support the Scottish economy. The Budget will also mark the first time that we will have forecasts from the new Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC). The SFC will provide an independent assessment of the outlook for the economy, devolved taxes and social security. They will do so against a backdrop of ongoing economic fragility. Growth in Scotland slowed to just 0.1% over the 3-months to June. Over the year, growth has been around 1/3 that of the UK. In contrast, employment continues to be close to a record high – at least since the Labour Force Survey started in 1992. The downside has been further falls in productivity. The latest leading indicators suggest that the economy is continuing to grow, albeit at a relatively slow pace. The Scottish FAI/RBS Scottish Business Monitor for Q3 2017 showed both a rise in business and new orders. Our latest survey of activity in the oil and gas sector shows a further pick-up in optimism, although conditions remain challenging.