The Bank of Scotland’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) has shown that growth in the Scottish economy gained momentum at the start of the year, picking up after easing back a little at the end of last year. Indeed, January saw the “most marked increase” in manufacturing and service sectors for three months.
According to the bank’s chief economist, Professor Donald MacRae, the index was at its highest level for three months and back to the highs of last summer. “Output grew strongly in both manufacturing and service sectors,” he said, accompanied by rising employment and increasing levels of new business. The growth in new export orders after two months of decline is particularly welcome. Business confidence continues to increase ensuring the Scottish economy not only continues the recovery but enters 2014 with growth momentum.”
Scotland’s Finance Secretary, John Swinney, described it as a solid start to the year. “The continued progress in Scotland’s economic recovery,” he said, “is helping to create more jobs and opportunities, with Scotland outperforming the UK in terms of employment, unemployment and inactivity rates. We know challenges will still remain as the recovery progresses, and that’s why there will be no let-up in the Scottish government’s determination to secure economic growth through our investment programme in skills and capital projects.”
Scotland Office minister David Mundell insisted that it proved that the country continued to do well as part of the UK. “We are providing the conditions for Scottish businesses to grow and create jobs because we are part of a strong, secure and influential UK economy,” he said. There is no room for complacency however, and we must continue to do everything we can to support Scottish business up and down the country. That is why from April we are introducing our employment allowance which provides Scotland with a boost of £100m by cutting the National Insurance bill of every Scottish business.”