Report shows shifting fortunes of Scottish regions

The centres of Scotland’s economic growth have begun to shift as Aberdeen continues its decline and areas such as Perth and Kinross begin an ascent, according to a new report.

The research conducted by Mackay Consultants has forecast annual growth of 2 per cent in Perthshire through to 2018, on a par with Edinburgh and Stirling.

The economic consultancy firm also put P&K only marginally behind East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire, which the firm expects to the fastest growing areas of the country in the coming years.

Meanwhile, the next three years are projected to see Dundee and Angus, Argyll and Bute, the Western Isles and Scottish Borders all grow by 1.8 per cent annually.

However, until recently the booming centre of Britain’s oil and gas industry, Aberdeen is expected to achieve average annual growth of just 1.3 per cent over the next three years.

And Mackay Consultants said that the impact of the plunging global oil price is also expected to be felt in the wider rural Aberdeenshire’s prospects.

Although the report filed a slightly better prediction of 1.6 per cent annual growth - still placing it at only 30 in the council list.

Meanwhile, Fife’s prospects were ranked 12th of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas, with predicted annual growth of 1.9 per cent.

But despite the mid-table showing, the Kingdom remains the largest of the local economies, generating a £7 billion in 2014 - a figure expected to be £7.27bn in the current year and is forecast to reach £7.56bn in 2018.

Overall, the report predicts Scotland will see a 1.6 per cent GDP rise this year with growth to 1.8 per cent in 2017 and 2 per cent the year after.

Tony Mackay of Mackay Consultants said: “The main problem at the present time is undoubtedly the ongoing recession in the North Sea oil and gas industry, following the collapse in world oil prices from $115 a barrel in 2014 to about $50 at the time of writing,” Mr Mackay said.

“That has had a serious negative impact not only on the Aberdeen economy but also the supply chain elsewhere in the country.

“In addition, some other industries have been struggling, notably in the public sector because of the ongoing cuts in public expenditure.”

Mr Mackay added: “Perth and Kinross are well above the national average. They have not had the problems of the oil and gas industry, unemployment is still very low there and they are above the average on pay.

“Fife is also above average, Dundee is just on average at 1.8 per cent and Angus is a wee bit lower but the figures are better than for the likes of Aberdeenshire.”

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