Latest Royal Bank of Scotland Scottish Business Monitor Results

Today we published our latest Scottish Business Monitor with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The results cover the 2nd quarter of 2017 and are therefore a helpful up-to-date indicator of economic trends in Scotland. Overall, the results suggest that the Scottish economy grew in the 3-months up to the end of June, albeit at a fragile pace.

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Latest Fraser of Allander Nowcast for the Scottish economy

As highlighted in last week’s Fraser Commentary, GDP data for Scotland is published this week. This will give the first official estimate of economic growth in the 1st quarter (i.e. the first three months) of 2017.

In the report we set out the latest results from our ‘nowcast’ modelling which give a complimentary estimate of how the Scottish economy is performing.

Our latest results are discussed here.

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Scotland’s recent productivity performance – is it all good news?

Last month, updated figures for labour market productivity in Scotland were published. They showed a relatively sharp jump in productivity– a rise of 3.5% in 2015.

This led the Scottish Government to conclude that the “figures show that Scotland’s productivity performance has grown around four times faster than the UK, providing further evidence of Scotland’s economic strength.”

This blog examines the recent trend in productivity in Scotland, and we unpick the numbers to see if they are as positive as would initially appear.  Continue reading “Scotland’s recent productivity performance – is it all good news?”

The Autumn Statement: what might it mean for the Scottish budget?

David Eiser, Fraser of Allander Institute

The new Chancellor faces a difficult balancing act in preparing his first Autumn Statement.

On the one hand he will face pressure to mitigate the risk of a post-EUref slowdown in the economy. Increases in infrastructure spending or targeted tax cuts would be the obvious antidotes to post referendum uncertainty, but he may also face pressure from Number 10 to follow through on the Prime Minister’s commitment to help the nebulously defined Just About Managing Families.

At the same time, the Chancellor will want to stress the continuing importance of fiscal prudence in order to reduce public sector debt from what Hammond himself has described as its ‘eye-wateringly high level’.

But how the Chancellor decides to respond to the fiscal and economic challenges he faces will also still have important implications for the Scottish Government’s budget. We’ll be publishing a short summary after the Chancellor’s statement and discussing the key issue in greater detail at our post-Autumn Statement briefing on Friday.

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Wage growth in Scotland: what does the latest data say and why does it matter?

David Eiser and Anna Murray

The dramatic fall in wages following the recession of 2008-9 has been well documented. The median weekly real wages of full-time workers in Scotland fell by 5% between 2008 and 2012, and have been increasing at only a sluggish rate since 2013.

Wages are clearly an important measure of living standards, accounting for three quarters of the total income of Scottish working age households[1].

Wage growth is also a key driver of income tax revenues, and with income tax revenues being almost wholly devolved to the Scottish Parliament in April 2017, Scottish wage growth will become a key indicator of the Scottish Government’s fiscal position.

The ONS yesterday published the latest results from its Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). ASHE is the most comprehensive survey of employee pay, based on a one per cent sample of all employees in the UK. It is based on earnings measured in April of each year, with the latest data now including 2016.

What does yesterday’s release tell us? Continue reading “Wage growth in Scotland: what does the latest data say and why does it matter?”