Scotland’s GDP increased by 1.5% in May

Scotland’s GDP increased by 1.5% in May

Fiona Hyslop, economy secretary

Scotland’s GDP increased by 1.5% in May, after the sharp falls of 18.9% in April and 5.5% in March, according to statistics announced today by the chief statistician.

Although output has picked up slightly in May, it remains 22.1% below the level in February, prior to the direct impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the second release of new monthly GDP statistics for Scotland. These have been produced by the Scottish Government to help track the economic impact of COVID-19, and are badged as experimental statistics (not national statistics) which means they are still in development.

After output fell in nearly every industry during April, the results for May are more mixed. Some parts of the economy are estimated to have seen a pick-up in activity as firms and consumers adapted to physical distancing and some people returned to work.

However, other industries across the services sector experienced further falls in output. The industries with the largest falls in output over the latest three months are those which have been strictly required to close or where working at home is not possible. 

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop, commented on the figures, she said: “Although there was a slight rise in GDP in May, these figures once again confirm the serious impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on the economy across the UK. We are determined to do everything in our power to support economic recovery and protect people’s jobs and livelihoods throughout this crisis.

“Since May lockdown restrictions in Scotland have been eased on several business sectors including manufacturing, construction and retail, and the Scottish Government has introduced a series of measures to help stimulate the recovery. We are implementing a £230 million investment package to create jobs in construction, low carbon schemes, digitisation and business support and last week we unveiled a £38m for high growth companies.”

She added: “Yesterday, I outlined that the further £100m for employment support would provide additional assistance to move into work or retrain. This would be done through a new national retraining scheme, more funding to provide immediate assistance and advice if people are made redundant, and at least £50m of that funding set aside to help young people get into work.

“However, we want to do more and continue to press the UK Government for the additional financial powers, or more funding, that would enable us to tailor a bespoke Scottish response to the crisis.

“It is concerning that despite the challenges facing our economy, the UK Government refuses to extend the EU transition period, a decision that will burden business with increased costs and more bureaucracy from 1 January.”

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