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Performance weakens

Scottish productivity falling further behind rest of UK

Tracy Black

Tracy Black: ‘we can’t afford to let this moment pass’ (pic: |Terry Murden)

Scotland’s productivity has fallen further behind other parts of the UK and overseas competitors in 10 out of 15 key indicators.

New analysis shows performance worsening on last year’s measure which showed Scotland weaker in nine out of 15 indicators.

Speaking at the launch of the latest CBI / KPMG productivity report, Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said: “While the coronavirus crisis has undoubtedly thrown up a number of new challenges for business, particularly in the hardest-hit hospitality, leisure, retail and tourism sectors, it has also shone a light on the fault lines lying beneath Scotland’s economic performance.

“We simply can’t afford to let this moment pass by without reflecting on the structural weaknesses holding Scotland back from realising its full economic potential.”

She added: “The coronavirus crisis has undoubtedly made comparison extremely difficult. Overall, the picture remains broadly the same, with Scotland trailing some way behind when it comes many to key productivity measures.

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“But there are reasons to be optimistic about 2021: with progress continuing in some areas, particularly across education and digital indicators, and an effective vaccine approved for widespread use. How optimistic will depend on learning lessons from 2020 and our commitment to building back better than before.” 

Catherine Burnet, KPMG UK’s senior partner in Scotland, said: “Tackling the productivity conundrum is a long-term ambition for Scotland.

“In the last twelve months, the challenges we’ve faced have demonstrated that the country’s workforce is entrepreneurial, innovative and flexible. Meanwhile, business leaders have demonstrated incredible engagement and an ability to adapt and manage profound change.

“While the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, underlying challenges and complexities can often be pushed down the agenda. But the business community has shown that it is ready to start tackling head-on the issues that have slowed the success of our economy.

Mairi Spowage, deputy director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “Long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Scottish economy was locked in a persistent battle with fragile growth.

“The best way to address that issue, and ultimately unlock Scotland’s economic potential, is to utilise the broad range of fiscal and policy levers available to promote widespread productivity gains.”



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