GDP and population growth

Earlier today new GDP data were released for Scotland. These showed growth in 2019 Q1 of 0.5%, the same as the UK over the same period.

Much is always made about short-term fluctuations in GDP growth, but as we try to emphasise, much more important is the longer term growth experience.

In this blog we look at trends in the longer term – for this purpose 10 year – growth performance of the UK and Scottish economies, and the important role than population change plays in overall growth.

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June 19, 2019

The economic impacts of UK labour productivity-enhancing industrial policies and their spillover effects on the energy system

Academic and policy discussions increasingly recognise the wider impacts of energy policy on the macro-economy. For example, recent analyses on energy efficiency policies emphasise the stimulus to economic activity that these typically generate and their potential impacts on distributional issues, while policies aimed at growing the offshore wind sector have associated targets for the economic impacts that could be secured.

However, interaction in the opposite direction, that is the impact of economic policies on the energy system, has been comparatively neglected and, in particular, there has been little system-wide analysis of the spill-over effects from economic policies to the energy system.

The studies that have looked at the impact of economic policies on the energy system have tended to focus upon specific policies that have a high correlation with energy and/or environmental outcomes – for example, the recent debate here in Scotland with regard to Air Departure Tax.

But what about economic policies more broadly? Continue reading

June 18, 2019

The transition to a low carbon energy future and its employment implications

Dr Grant Allan and Dr Andrew Ross
Fraser of Allander Institute, Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde

The low carbon transition calls for ‘system change’ as Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, puts it so eloquently. Despite of the progress made, e.g. the phasing out of coal, a 100% low-carbon energy future is still a long way off for the UK.
It is clear, however, that changes in energy supply in the coming decades are likely to have major economic implications.

In our research, we examine the scale as well as the skill characteristics of employment related to current energy activities in the UK. This helps to understand the possible employment consequences of this transition.Continue reading

May 21, 2019

Budget 2019-20: what next?

This spring the Scottish Budget for 2019-20 secured safe passage through Parliament.

Once again, the debate – at least outside parliament – focussed upon the familiar issues of income tax rates and local government budgets.

But important longer-term trends are starting to emerge which will shape the Scottish budget in new ways. With the next election just over two years away, these issues are likely to increase in importance as the campaign approaches.

In this blog, we set out five key issues to watch out for.Continue reading

April 23, 2019

Spring Statement 2019: route-map to an unlikely destination?

Shorn of major policy announcements, the Spring Statement is an opportunity for the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to update its economic and fiscal forecasts, and for the Chancellor to announce policy reviews on everything from minimum wages to biodiversity.

So how have the forecasts changed since October 2018?Continue reading

March 13, 2019