Brexit: the mood amongst Scottish businesses

The last month has been a tumultuous time in the Brexit negotiations following the publication of the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan and the subsequent resignation of senior UK Ministers.

To help understand how businesses in Scotland are viewing recent developments, over the course of July we have been speaking to around 350 businesses from across the country (and from a variety of different sectors).

The focus of the survey was not on whether or not businesses believe Brexit to be good or bad, but instead, how their preparatory plans were taking shape.

This blog summarises the results of our survey – with a full run down of the results to be published in next month’s Economic Commentary which we’ll be publishing in partnership with Deloitte.Continue reading

August 6, 2018

Recent trends in business investment in Scotland: A Brexit effect?

Late last month, the latest business investment figures for Scotland were published – with a reported fall of 15% over the year.

Are these figures the result of Brexit uncertainty?

If the latest business surveys are believed then this is quite likely in some instances. But a look at the data from well before the EU Referendum reveals that low levels of investment have been a feature of the Scottish economy for years.

Brexit can’t be blamed for every structural challenge that we face.

Initiatives to boost the supply of finance are to be welcomed. But it’s not entirely clear that this is the greatest barrier. In many instances, it is the demand for finance that needs to be developed and supported.

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February 19, 2018

Progress: but progress to what?

Professor Ian Wooton, Department of Economics & Fraser of Allander Institute, University of Strathclyde

Today we have had the first demonstrable progress in the Brexit negotiations with the deal on Stage 1 of the process for the UK leaving the EU.

The deal covers key issues such as the financial terms of the UK’s exit, the status of EU citizens in the UK (and UK citizens living in the EU), and the border-issue between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

What can we unpick from today’s deal in terms of what the future trading relationship might look like between the UK and the EU?

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December 8, 2017

Reduction in net migration: a blessing or a curse?

Katerina Lisenkova

Fraser of Allander Institute


During the 2010 election campaign, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron set the Conservative Party’s migration policy target: to reduce the level of net migration from ‘hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands’.

Since then, net migration increased to an all-time high of 332,000 in 2015. Net migration from EU countries constituted just over 55% of the total (Figure 1).

Uncertainty associated with Brexit appears to have brought an end to this rise – in 2016 net migration registered its sharpest one year decline (25%) in recent history and settled, for now, at 248,000.

It is still well above the ‘tens of thousands’ target; but should we celebrate or worry about this recent change in the trend of net migration? My research shows that a significant reduction in EU immigration would lead, in the long run, to lower GDP per person; which in turn would necessitate higher taxes.

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June 15, 2017