Scotland’s economy: get the facts

Scotland is one of the strongest economies in the world – with advantages and resources few nations can match.

We are absolutely committed to building a more competitive, more sustainable and fairer economy. Since 2007, we have taken real action to support businesses, create jobs and build a more equal country.

Here’s what you need to know.

Scotland has one of the strongest economies in the world.

  • Productivity growth in Scotland has been much faster in Scotland than in the UK – as measured by output per hour worked. Since the start of the recession, productivity has increased by 7.6%, while it has grown by only 0.6% in the UK as a whole.
  • Record numbers of people in Scotland are employed and Scotland has the lowest unemployment levels in the UK.
    Latest figures revealed Scotland’s unemployment to be at a historic low of 3.4%, while the UK average stands at 3.9%. And we’ve met our target to reduce youth unemployment by 40% – four years early.
  • Scotland’s GDP per head growth in the five years since 2010 was above the UK average, when London is excluded. Scotland has the highest salary levels anywhere in the UK outside of London and the South East. ONS figures show median full time gross annual pay has grown 21% in the last ten years.
  • According to the Resolution Foundation, Scotland also has the lowest percentage of workers paid less than the Real Living Wage – £9 per hour – of any UK nation.
  • Latest statistics reveal that Scotland’s international exports – valued at £32.4 billion in 2017 – are at a record high, up 44.7% under the SNP and up 6.2% in 2017 alone. We’ll now double the number of people working for Scottish Development International across Europe and establish Innovation and Investment Hubs in London, Brussels, Dublin, Berlin and Paris.
  • Scotland is the top destination, outside of London, for foreign direct investment.
  • The number of private sector businesses in Scotland is at the highest level since records began.
  • Business research and development spend in Scotland grew by over £1 billion for the first time in 2016. This represents a 69% real terms increase since 2007 – compared to a 22% increase in UK spend over the same period.
  • Scotland’s research and development spend in the higher education sector, as a percentage of GDP, is the 5th highest in the developed world.

We’re using the powers of the Scottish Parliament to make our economy stronger still.

  • We’re building a skilled and educated workforce. We’re committed to increasing the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 30,000 per year; we’re increasing college funding, and university education will always continue to be free under the SNP.
  • We’re connecting businesses to the markets they need. We’re on track to exceed our target of providing broadband access to 95% of premises this year, and we’ll reach 100% by 2021.
  • We’re helping small businesses expand and create jobs. Around 100,000 business premises now pay no rates at all thanks to the Small Business Bonus scheme. To date, small businesses have saved £1.3 billion through the scheme.
  • We’re helping businesses go international. For businesses with the potential to grow and export more – particularly start-up companies – the new Scottish Growth Scheme will provide up to £500 million of investment guarantees and loans over three years.
  • We’re establishing a National Investment Bank to provide businesses with the long-term investment they need to grow and to support our overall economic strategy.
  • We’re investing in innovation. We will invest an additional £45 million in business research and development, through Scottish Enterprise, over the next three years.
  • We’re standing up for Scottish industry. The SNP government secured a future for Scottish Steel, with the transfer of the Dalzell and Clydebridge plants to Liberty Steel; the Ferguson shipyard in Inverclyde, and the UK’s last remaining aluminium smelter in Lochaber.
  • And, we’re working to protect Scotland’s place in the Single Market, which is over eight times the size of the UK market. The Scottish Government has set out a plan to keep Scotland in the European Single Market – protecting our economy, trade, jobs and living standards.
    Theresa May’s Brexit deal threatens to slash 80,000 Scottish jobs over a decade, and make every person in Scotland £1,610 worse off.