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Scottish Business Monitor, 2024 Q1

This report summarises the key results from our latest Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) Scottish Business Monitor, published in partnership with Addleshaw Goddard.

The survey sampled almost 400 firms in February from across the Scottish economy, examining business performance in the current quarter and the outlook for the year ahead.

Early 2024 was a difficult period for business in Scotland. All of our main indicators showed deterioration, with the exception being capital investment – which improved – although remains in negative territory.

Businesses are much more positive as they look ahead, and indeed more positive than they were last quarter.

Our latest results also show that:

  • The vast majority of businesses expect economic/ business uncertainty (97%), staff availability (92%), and political uncertainty (90%) to be important or very important over the next three months. These are up considerably for businesses compared to last quarter.
  • In every category, the proportion of businesses reporting that costs were higher has increased compared to last quarter. The increase in the cost of employing people were the most commonly cited, with 77% reporting that total employee costs were higher and 76% reporting that wage costs were higher.
  • In this edition, we explored with businesses what they felt should be the top priority for the UK Government after the election. “Deliver
    long-term economic growth” was by far the most popular option, being selected by 72% of businesses. This was followed by “Tackle Labour and Skills Shortages” at 45% and “Reduce UK business taxes” at 43%.

Authors

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.

João is Deputy Director and Senior Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute. Previously, he was a Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Office for Budget Responsibility, where he led on analysis of long-term sustainability of the UK's public finances and on the effect of economic developments and fiscal policy on the UK's medium-term outlook.

Brodie is a Knowledge Exchange Assistant at the Fraser of Allander Institute. She has recently completed an MSc in Applied Economics at the University of Strathclyde and has a first-class Honour’s degree in Economics and Politics from the University of Glasgow

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.

Part of Collection

The quarterly Fraser of Allander Scottish Business Monitor, in partnership with Addleshaw Goddard, provides a snapshot of activity and business sentiment in the Scottish economy.