Scots GDP rose 0.4% in 2016, but fell 0.2% in Q4

Scottish gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.4% over the year of 2016 but contracted 0.2% in the fourth quarter compared to the previous three months, according to Scotland’s chief statistician.

That compared to UK full year 2016 growth of 1.8% and fourth quarter growth of 0.7%.

The statistics reflect Scotland’s “onshore economy” excluding oil and gas extraction activity in the North Sea, while the UK headline figures contain this activity.

The Scottish government blamed Brexit for the slowdown while the UK government said the prospect of a second referendum on Scottish independence was causing uncertainty.

On an annual basis, the output of the Scottish economy in the fourth quarter — compared to the fourth quarter of 2015 — was flat.

During the fourth quarter, output in the services industry in Scotland was flat, while production contracted by 0.9% and construction contracted by 0.8%.

Scotland’s service sector expanded by 1.8% over the whole of 2016.

The Scottish government’s finance secretary Derek Mackay said: “Scotland’s economy faces continued headwinds, such as the slowdown in the oil and gas sector and weak global demand.

“Despite these challenges, the foundations of our economy are strong with growth in 2016, unemployment falling and early signs that the situation is improving for North Sea operators.”

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said: “These are deeply worrying figures which show that Scotland under the SNP is now on the brink of a recession.

“Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Government must take responsibility for this mess.

“She has made Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK and created more instability and uncertainty with her threat of a second referendum.

“Now we see the real-life impact of her mismanagement.

“These figures also smash the SNP’s claim that Brexit is to blame for a slowdown.

“If that was the case, why is the rest of the UK powering ahead, while Scotland comes to a standstill?

“More than ever, Scotland needs a First Minister in charge who gets back to her desk, ends her obsession with a second referendum, and focuses on her day job.

“Scotland’s economy is facing a crisis. We need a Scottish Government in charge, not a campaign for independence.”