October nowcast update on the Scottish economy

Grant Allan & Stuart McIntyre
http://www.nowcastingscotland.com 
Fraser of Allander Institute, University of Strathclyde


Recent economic news on the Scottish economy has struck a slightly more upbeat note about the current pace of economic growth.

This comes on the back of growth over the year to June 2018 – whilst still below average – at its fastest since late 2014/early 2015 and the Scottish economy outpacing the UK for the last two quarters.

While, as set out in our latest Fraser Economic Commentary we remain cautiously optimistic, growth is likely to remain below trend for the duration of our forecast horizon. And overall, the immediate outlook for Scotland’s economy remains highly uncertain.

Against this backdrop, the latest nowcasts of economic growth in Scotland from our nowcasting model have been generated.

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October 8, 2018

FAI Economic Commentary: Tackling regional economic inequalities

Tackling regional economic disparities has been a priority of successive governments in both the UK and Scotland.

The UK Government’s Industrial Strategy is their latest attempt, with regional growth 1 of 5 ‘foundations of success’. Here in Scotland, ‘cohesion’ – or its new term ‘regional inclusive growth’ – has been a feature of the Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy since 2007.

It is hard to disagree that a country will be economically stronger if every region has the opportunity to fulfil its potential.

However, Scottish and UK policy history is littered with well-intentioned – but ultimately ill-fated – attempts to narrow the gap in economic performance between regions. Many of the challenges are deep-rooted and structural, whilst attempts to tackle them throw-up challenging trade-offs and political risks.

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September 26, 2018

Today’s Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary in 10 bullet points

Today we published our latest Economic Commentary.

Alongside our analysis of the Scottish, UK and global economies, we include the following articles:

Today’s Commentary also includes an examination of the hot topic of regional inclusive growth.

In this blog, we summarise some of the key points from our latest outlook.

FAI GDP and unemployment forecastsContinue reading

Should anyone care about the Fiscal Framework Outturn Report?

As most people who read this blog will know, the increasing dependence of the Scottish budget on tax revenues means that Scottish budgets are increasingly determined by forecasts of tax revenues.

There will almost always be a degree of error associated with these forecasts. Following the end of a financial year, once revenue outturn data is available, we will know whether the Scottish Government actually had more resources at its disposal than had been forecast, or fewer.

A complication in this analysis is that the Scottish budget is not only dependent on forecasts of Scottish tax revenues. It is also dependent on forecasts of the ‘block grant adjustments’ (BGAs) – these BGAs are effectively estimates of the revenues that the UK Government has foregone as a result of transferring each tax to Scotland. The BGAs are deducted from Scotland’s block grant.

The BGAs contained in each Scottish budget are determined by forecasts of the growth of equivalent taxes in the rest of the UK. In the same way that there is likely to be forecast error associated with Scottish revenues, there is likely to be forecast error associated with the BGAs.

How these two sets of forecast error – for Scottish revenues and for the BGAs – effect the resources available to the Scottish budget is the subject of the Fiscal Framework Outturn Report which was published by the Scottish Government yesterday. As far as government reports go it is relatively short, although given the complex nature of the fiscal framework it nonetheless provides a stern test of the reader’s concentration.Continue reading

September 21, 2018

Yesterday’s GDP figures – an upturn in Scottish growth

Yesterday’s Scottish GDP growth figures – for the period up to June 2018 – showed a further pick-up in economic growth in Scotland. The Scottish economy expanded by 0.5% over the 3-months to June. This followed revised growth of 0.4% in the first 3-months of the year.

In this blog we provide a quick summary of the key trends. We’ll have a more in-depth discussion in our Economic Commentary – in partnership with Deloitte – to be published on Wednesday 26th September.

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September 20, 2018