FAI Economic Commentary, 2021 Q2

The recent opening of the Scottish economy enabled by the swift vaccine rollout, has led to expectations for Scotland’s economic growth being revised up to 5.9% in 2021 and 3.5% in 2022, according to the latest Economic Commentary by the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde.

In the Deloitte sponsored Economic Commentary, the Fraser of Allander Institute now forecasts that the economy will reach its pre-pandemic peak in the summer of 2022, three months earlier than was forecast in March.

While recent pauses in the roadmap to ease restrictions have been challenging, particularly for those sectors and regions hardest hit by the pandemic, the Scottish economy has seen significant opening up since late April. This has been facilitated by the vaccine deployment, which has seen 82% of the adult population receive their first dose.

Despite the optimism, there are also risks to recovery which could provide headwinds to growth. The dislocation in global trade was significant due to the pandemic and the UK’s exit from the EU. This has led to major issues for manufacturers and others trying to rebuild these supply chains.

While the economy faces significant changes as it moves through to the recovery phase, the way people work has also changed, particularly for those who have been able to work from home during the pandemic.

As some businesses begin to consider a part-time return to the office, alongside homeworking practices, it remains to be seen how persistent these changes will be. This edition of the Commentary continues the discussion about the future of work, examining the sectoral differences of both prevalence and possible persistence of new ways of working.

This quarter’s commentary also includes:

  • Analysis of Real Time Indicators, giving the most up to date snapshot of the Scottish economy;
  • A summary of our recent research on Levelling Up prioritisation for Scottish regions; and,
  • Discussion of how the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of the Brexit transition period has impacted global, UK and Scottish trade so far in 2021.

Alongside three additional articles:

  1. Perspective 1 – “International Student Applications in the United Kingdom after Brexit” Agnese Romiti, University of Strathclyde
  2. Perspective 2 – “Divergent Integration” Jan I. Haaland, Norwegian School of Economics & Ian Wooton University of Strathclyde
  3. Perspective 3 – “Looking back on the 2021 Scottish Election” – A collection & summary of the policy briefings the Fraser of Allander produced throughout the campaign – Edited by Mark Mitchell, Fraser of Allander Institute


Mairi is the Director of the Fraser of Allander Institute. Previously, she was the Deputy Chief Executive of the Scottish Fiscal Commission and the Head of National Accounts at the Scottish Government and has over a decade of experience working in different areas of statistics and analysis.

Adam is an Economist Fellow at the FAI who works closely with FAI partners and specialises in business analysis. Adam's research typically involves an assessment of business strategies and policies on economic, societal and environmental impacts. Adam also leads the FAI's quarterly Scottish Business Monitor.

Find out more about Adam.

Picture of Frank Brocek, assistant at the Fraser of Allander Institute
Frantisek Brocek

Frank graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2019 with a First-class BA (Hons) degree in Economics. He is currently studying on the Scottish Graduate Programme MSc in Economics at the University of Edinburgh.

He has experience from a variety of economic policy institutions including the European Commission in Brussels, the Slovak Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.

Ben is an economist at the Fraser of Allander Institute working across a number of projects areas. He has a Masters in Economics from the University of Edinburgh, and a degree in Economics from the University of Strathclyde.

His main areas of focus are economic policy, social care and criminal justice in Scotland. Ben also co-edits the quarter Economic Commentary and has experience in business survey design and dissemination.

James is a Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute. He specialises in economic policy, modelling, trade and climate change. His work includes the production of economic statistics to improve our understanding of the economy, economic modelling and analysis to enhance the use of these statistics for policymaking, data visualisation to communicate results impactfully, and economic policy to understand how data can be used to drive decisions in Government.

Anton is a Research Assistant at the Fraser of Allander Institute. He is also studying for an M.Sc. in Economics from the University of Edinburgh. His research interests cover environmental and political economics, as well as computational macroeconomics.

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Founded in 1975, the Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary is the leading publication on the Scottish economy and offers an authoritative and independent analysis of the key issues of the day.