Devolved nations struggle
Scotland’s growth weakest of any part of the UK
Scotland is anchored at the foot of the activity table (pic: Terry Murden)
Business growth in Scotland is the weakest of any part of the UK, according to a key economic indicator.
Research from NatWest RBS reveals that business activity in September grew in every part of the UK, but those areas run by devolved governments – Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales – slumped to the bottom of the rankings.
The purchasing managers business activity index tracks the monthly change in the output of goods and services across the private sector. A reading above 50 signals growth, and the further above the 50 level the faster the expansion signalled.
The best performing region was North East England which recorded a reading of 60.3.
At the other end of the spectrum, Scotland recorded only 51.2 and moved to the bottom of the rankings, having seen growth slow sharply since August.
The North East also led a broad-based increase in new business across England in September, while Scotland posted a renewed contraction.
Seven of the 12 UK regions saw renewed increases in outstanding business, but Scotland saw the fastest rate of backlog depletion.
The slow rate of growth will cause alarm among policymakers amid continuing pressures from the Covid-19 crisis.
The UK economy’s initial recovery from recession has been much faster than expected, according to the EY ITEM Club’s Autumn Forecast, but growth prospects have been downgraded.