The latest GERS report for Scotland illustrates an improving fiscal balance (in percentage terms) for Scotland, with the net fiscal balance at £13.4Bn, or -7.9% of GDP, in comparison to -8.9% of GDP across 2016-17. Scotland’s fiscal balance remains more challenged than the UK’s, which sits at -1.9% of total UK GDP, equating to -£39.4Bn.
Commenting on the figures, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:
“The latest GERS report paints a mixed picture of the Scottish economy. While it is encouraging to observe the partial recovery of North Sea oil revenues and the narrowing of the deficit in the net fiscal balance, Scotland’s fiscal position remains somewhat more challenging than the UK’s as a whole. In addition, today’s labour productivity statistics show positive growth in output per hour worked, however, like many advanced economies, Scotland’s long-term trend in productivity growth remains below pre-recession levels.
“Scotland can do better, and it is only by creating the best possible environment for Scottish businesses that we can improve the fiscal position and levels of productivity. The Scottish and UK Governments both have a part to play in ensuring continued stability for Oil & Gas firms, and investment must continue in the vital infrastructure required to streamline access to markets for businesses.
“Equally, the challenging conditions faced by some sectors following the downturn showcase just how important it is to have a diverse and productive economy, alongside a wide range of international trading partners. Governments must do all they can, in partnership with the private sector, to encourage small and medium sized firms to export and trade with businesses across the world. This will further bolster the economy against domestic shocks, and boost our ability to maintain sustainable growth and tackle the fiscal deficit in the long term.”