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Brian Ashcroft
Glasgow
Emeritus Professor in Economics and Editor of Economic Commentary, Fraser of Allander Institute, University of Strathclyde
Interests: Scottish economy, devolution, economic forecasting, regional economics and policy, Scottish media, macro-economic policy, public finance, acoustic guitar playing, Newcastle United
Recent Activity
Step back from the detail of Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget today and ask yourself: Does this Budget help the economy to move to a sustained recovery? Remember we have an economy which is largely recovering on the back of household demand, which is built on shaky foundations: a falling savings... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
Scottish economic growth continues to improve but the recovery could be threatened by imbalances in both the Scottish and UK economies according to our latest Economic Commentary sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The recovery is being driven by household consumption, activity in the service sector and part-time and self employment. Growth... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
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The publication today of Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland 2014 (GERS) provides information on Scotland's fiscal position in 2012-13 with revisions for earlier years. The document is obviously important since it is the last one in the series before the independence referendum on 18 September. What is the prospective voter... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
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The latest Scottish GDP data for the third quarter of last year show that the recovery of GDP strengthened. GDP grew by 0.7% in the quarter, a little weaker than the UK where GDP growth hit 0.8%, but stronger than growth in the previous two quarters of 0.6% and 0.4%,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
The Sunday Herald yesterday published a leader in which Inverness-based economist Tony Mackay accuses the Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) of ridiculing his forecasts of the Scottish economy. I reprint the short piece in full below The latest edition of Tony Mackay's useful monthly Scottish Economy report points out his... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
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The latest labour market data published this morning show that conditions in both the Scottish and UK labour markets continue to improve. In the latest quarter, August - October, employment rose by nearly eleven thousand (10,651) in Scotland an increase of 0.4%. UK employment rose by 250,000, an increase of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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Last night on Newsnight Scotland, Gordon Brewer subjected John Swinney and other non-Coalition politicians to some pretty tough questioning on the austerity and the UK recovery. As a presenter and interviewer it is normal to play 'devil's advocate' and challenge the beliefs, suppositions and arguments of interviewees, especially politicians. However,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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The publication of the latest Scottish National Accounts Project (SNAP) quarterly accounts data on 13 November offers some interesting insights into, and raises a few questions about, the behaviour of labour income in Scotland. Back in November 2012 I noted that contrary to a recently expressed STUC view, drawing on... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
Scotland's exports to rest of UK account for 70% of its exports. Rest of UK exports to Scotland account for 11% of its exports. Memo In 2012, Scottish exports to rest UK amounted to £48bn while rest of UK exports to Scotland were £59bn. The USA is Scotland's next important... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
Growth in small countries is neither more or less fast than in other countries but is more volatile. Memo Small country growth benefits from greater openness to trade. Small country growth suffers from loss of scale: border effects (more trade within than between borders); technology (generation and adoption of new... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
Small states have higher per capita GDP (are richer) than other states. Memo This reflects a productivity advantage No certainty that a region of a country that becomes independent will enjoy higher productivity as a consequence: evidence may be due to small regions with higher productivity choosing to be independent... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
Trade flows, migration flows and capital flows are significantly lower across international borders than within a country. Memo: This holds even if the countries are in a monetary union, single market or free trade area. This holds after adjustments are made for size of region/country, proximity, language and culture In... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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Yesterday the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney asserted that Britain's economic recovery was "finally taking hold". And we, that is the Fraser of Allander Institute, said much the same thing for Scotland in our Economic Commentary published two weeks ago. However, we also warned that since the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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A reminder that there is still a lot of slack - people likely to work if job prospects improve - is illustrated by the following chart: Jobs are being created in greater numbers. But the population is growing, so we need more jobs just to maintain the same employment rate:... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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The latest Scottish labour market data continue to offer encouragement. However, not everything is rosy in the Scottish labour market. First, the good news. Scottish employment is almost back to where it was in 2008 at its pre-recession peak. The chart below illustrates. Jobs are currently-0.2% below the 2008 peak.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
Scottish economic growth continues to improve but doubts remain about a sustained recovery according to the latest Economic Commentary from the University of Strathclyde's Fraser of Allander Institute, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The improvement in growth is mainly dependent on growth in household spending. As a result, we have raised... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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There is no doubt that the announcement by Ineos early today of the closure of its petrochemicals plant at Grangemouth and the possible closure of the adjacent refinery is a major blow to the Scottish and even the UK economy. As the day drew on the scale of the closure... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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The latest Scottish labour market data published today show jobs continuing to be created as unemployment rose. During May-July Employment in Scotland rose by just under 6,000 (5,627) over the previous Feb-April quarter. But unemployment also rose by just under 10,000 (9,689) over the quarter, taking the unemployment rate back... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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In this post in April I responded to a Scottish Government document which offered a summary of trends in total Scottish tax receipts since 1980-81. The document shows that Scots have paid more tax than UK tax payers if a geographic share of oil revenues is allocated to Scotland. Hence,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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The UK Economic Accounts for the first quarter 2013 were published this morning. The UK media - e.g. here - tended to highlight that revisions had removed the double dip recession in the first quarter of 2012. GDP fell in the second quarter but now appears to have remained flat... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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The latest labour market data published today provide further evidence of improvement. Employment rose by 47,000 in February - April compared to the November - January quarter, and unemployment fell by 6,000 to 194,000, a rate of 7.1%. The numbers inactive also fell by 37,000, suggesting that people may be... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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The latest economic Commentary from the Fraser of Allander Institute, sponsored by PwC is published today. We have maintained our GDP forecast for 2013 at 0.9%, the same as our March forecast. For the two years 2014 and 2015, we have revised down slightly our forecast for 2014 from 1.7%... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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Yesterday, 8 June, my son, daughter and I walked down a Byres Road in Glasgow bathed in glorious sunshine. My young son Michael is mad about sports cars and Ferraris. As we ambled along suddenly we saw this beautiful red Ferrari. "Dad take a picture with your 'phone!" Which I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
Appropriate on a rare sunny day like today. Filming and original acoustic guitar by BJ Cunningham Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch
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I published this blog earlier today on the latest data for new businesses in the first quarter this year released by the Committee of Scottish Bankers. Having researched in the area of new firms using VAT registrations I thought I'd look at that data to see if it differed from... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2013 at Scottish Economy Watch