Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has called for more economic powers for Scotland to help grow the economy.
Linda said “Although I am pleased to see, that despite troubled economic times new figures show that our GDP grew by 0.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2011, which is encouraging for the economy and the country as a whole.
“However, so much more could be achieved if Scotland was given the proper levers to grow our economy which is currently stifled by Westminster’s austerity programme.”
The new GDP figures coincided with the publication of the latest labour market statistics, which saw unemployment in Scotland increase by 19,000 in the three month period September-November 2011 to 8.6 per cent. UK-wide, unemployment increased by 118,000 to 8.4 per cent.
Linda said “There has been an increase in unemployment throughout the UK as a whole thought it is worth noting that unemployment in Scotland remains below the rate in most other regions and nations of the UK, such as Wales, London, the West Midlands, Yorkshire & the Humber, the North East, and North West of England.
“It is also encouraging to note that for the fourteenth consecutive month, the labour market statistics also show that the employment rate in Scotland remains higher than the UK-wide position, at 70.9 per cent compared to the UK rate of 70.3 per cent for the period September-November 2011.
“The employment rate in Scotland for 16-24 year-olds is 52.9 per cent – higher than the UK rate of 50.3 per cent. This shows more people in Scotland are managing to stay in work, particularly younger people, which bodes well for our continued economic recovery and growth.
“There are real signs of improvement across the Scottish economy. Our construction sector grew by 5.9 per cent in the last year, compared to a 5.4 per cent increase UK-wide; the production sector grew by 1.7 per cent in Scotland, compared to a 0.4 per cent increase UK-wide. The Index of Manufactured Exports showed 0.2 per cent growth in the third quarter of 2011 and growth of 2.7 per cent on an annual basis.
“Still more can be done and that is precisely why Finance Secretary, John Swinney, has called for a UK-wide jobs summit to agree an immediate programme of employment creation, in response to rising unemployment. The Scottish Government will continue to do all in its power to improve the prospects of the people of Scotland”