Scotland’s economy grew faster than the UK as a whole in the final three months of 2019, the latest figures show, though the Scottish Government has warned of challenges ahead due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Initial GDP figures show a rise of 0.2% in Scotland in October to December 2019, compared to zero growth in the UK.
Over the course of last year, the UK economy increased by 1.1% – more than the 0.7% growth recorded north of the border.
Scotland’s GDP grew by 0.2% in real terms during the fourth quarter of 2019, covering the period October to December.
The UK quarterly GDP remained flat.
Within the Scottish economy, the construction and service sectors grew by 0.7% and 0.5% respectively but production fell by 1.2% in last three months of 2019.
The figures cover the period before the coronavirus outbreak hit the UK, with Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop warning the virus has already had “challenging implications” for business.
She said: “The growth in the economy in 2019, although modest, is welcome.
“However, we are living in unprecedented times and I am acutely aware that Covid-19 is already having challenging implications for businesses the length and breadth of the country.
“That is why we have moved quickly to provide a £320 million package of support for the business community.
“I would also strongly encourage businesses to contact the Covid-19 helpline – 0300 303 0660 – that answers questions relating to the economic impact of the virus. ”
Ms Hyslop said businesses receiving help are “being encouraged to operate with fair work principles”, such as supporting staff to self-isolate if they or their household have symptoms of Covid-19.
The Economy Secretary has been meeting with business leaders and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC).
While she said there were a “number of issues” where the Scottish Government could act to help companies, she added: “Having spoken to Alok Sharma, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, it needs to be understood that this will require a co-ordinated global and UK–wide level response to deal with the economic impact this will have.”