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Brian Ashcroft
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
The latest labour market data for Scotland, which were the subject of yesterday's post allow us to examine the type of jobs that are on offer, or are being taken up, in current conditions. The chart below shows where we are. In general terms, what we see is a shift... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2015 at Scottish Economy Watch
Following the release yesterday (18 February) of the latest labour market statistics the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney, is reported as claiming that: "Scotland is outperforming the UK on all three headline labour market indicators with employment continuing to increase and unemployment down …." While... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Scottish Economy Watch
The recent significant fall in world oil prices raises several issues and questions. One crucial issue is whether the low price will be sustained. If not, through, for example Saudia Arabia cutting back on production, then any effect on economic activity will be short lived. But it is now clear... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
On November 12th, we published our latest Fraser of Allander Institute Economic Commentary, - sponsored by PWC. On the same day, the Scottish Government published its quarterly accounts for the second quarter under the Scottish National Accounts Project (SNAP). The Commentary, therefore, could only analyse the drivers of Scotland's economic... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
Overview • In the latest Economic Commentary we note that in the first half of the year the Scottish economy delivered strong economic growth, increased job creation and falling unemployment. • However, there are signs that growth may be beginning to slow. Growth in the wider global economy and the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
In an earlier post I sought to establish the number of jobs that could be said to depend on economic links with the rest of the UK (rUK). That work suggested that almost 1 million jobs – 962,000 – were linked to the UK through rUK owned firms operating establishments... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
The strong growth demonstrated in the latest GDP figures for Scotland is clearly to be welcomed. Welcome too is the attainment of the pre-recession peak, finally, after six years. However, what has pulled me out from under the olive trees and the hot Tuscan sun to write this blog is... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
Using the latest data available from the Scottish Government we can examine Scottish growth over the last 50 years. This blog updates an earlier post in February 2012 here. The key points are: Scottish GDP growth over almost 50 years is comparable to UK growth – a little lower in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
The Institute's latest Economic Commentary on the Scottish economy, sponsored by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, is published here. In summary: Overview The Scottish economy is now enjoying a strong recovery. However, the Institute cautions that the recovery is subject to the risks of: a continuing unbalanced recovery; falling real wages; booming house prices... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
The IMF has sought fit to effectively apologise for seeking last year to encourage the Chancellor to relax his austerity measures. Yes, they got the strength of the UK recent recovery wrong, everyone did, even Osborne himself. The Chancellor had quietly started to relax the austerity programme after 2012 as... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
The latest Scottish new business statistics published by the Committee of Scottish Bankers (CSCB) today continues to show little sign of a pick up in new businesses in Scotland. I have graphed the latest data in the following chart: Despite the recovery, the number of new businesses continues to fall.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
Some time ago someone asked me in the context of the referendum debate: "How many jobs in Scotland depend on links with the UK?" I said: "I don't know but I can attempt to find out. But the harder question is determining how many of these jobs might be at... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
The debate about the prospects for the public finances in an independent Scotland is intensifying. I sympathise with the views of Simon Schama, Martin Wolf and Tyler Cowan that the debate about Scottish independence should be dealing in higher things. As Wolf puts it The debate over the future of... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
David Cameron is correct. (I never thought I'd write that sentence!) London is an asset for Scotland. Specifically, Cameron is reported in the Scotsman as saying "London is an enormous and precious asset for the whole of the UK, and many Scots benefit from London's hub status and from working... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
The latest Scottish and UK regional labour market data published by ONS today reveal a continuing and now strong recovery in the Scottish labour market. Over 29,000 jobs were created in the quarter Oct-Dec 2013 to Jan-Mar 2014 and more than 67,000 jobs created over the year. Unemployment fell by... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2014 at Scottish Economy Watch
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
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
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
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
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
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