Scottish cities punch economically above their weight


By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has welcomed news that Scottish cities are punching above their weight in relation to what businesses contribute to the UK economy per head of population.

Edinburgh tops the list – with £34,950 of Gross Value Added per head (GVA) in 2009 – of English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish cities.  The findings show that Edinburgh contributes even more to the UK economy per head of population than London, the city which is traditionally considered the powerhouse of the UK economy.

Other Scottish success stories include Glasgow.  Despite an image often associated with poverty and deprivation, the city came fourth in the UK in terms of its contribution to the UK economy, at £29,472 per head of GVA.  

Aberdeen was also a winner, being the only city in the UK to grow its economy during the recession.  It is the third Scottish city to figure in the list.  Aberdeen saw a rise of 1.1% in GVA, rising from £28,442 to £28,731 in the year to 1 January, 2010.  The list demonstrates that three out of the top ten cities in the UK in terms of their contribution to the UK economy are in Scotland.

The SNP has hailed the figures as giving backing to the economic case for an independent Scotland.  Jim Eadie, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Southern said this was an excellent example of how versatile and robust businesses in Scotland are, even in hardest of economic times.

Mr Eadie said:

“This is evidence of Edinburgh’s ability to adapt to changing economic conditions and is a credit to the people who live and work here.

“Scotland has three cities in the UK’s top ten and stands out as the highest performing nation which gives yet more credence to the belief that an independent Scotland would have an economically stronger starting point than the UK as a whole.

“This news along with the locating of the Green Investment Bank here in the city are reasons for optimism and I am confident this will lead to more companies emerging and investing in Scotland’s capital.”

Kevin Stewart, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central said:

“Aberdeen remains internationally recognised for North Sea exploration and oil services and is the key city for the oil and gas industry in the British Isles.

“These figures show a remarkable achievement whereby we actually increased our GVA during the worst depths of the global recession.

“Aberdeen – with a trillion pound asset just off its shore – is important to the UK but would be far greater benefit both to itself and the people of its country in an independent Scotland.”


  1. Did I miss this on MSM?

    I don’t want to be unfair – I must have missed the report this evening.

    What channel was it on?

    • The Scotsman and Herald each have an article and there are two up on STV’s site. Nothing on BBC Scotland’s site though.


    • Depends what edition you get! All I saw was some guff about ASBOS for those who feed seagulls!

      Darn there goes my plot to ruin the neighbours washing!

  2. We’re clearly doing really poorly at the whole subsidy junkie thingy. Obviously not cut out for it.

  3. BBC hid away the news on
    BBC news > Scotland > Scotland Business
    Link entitled:
    Aberdeen ‘grew through downturn’

    Heading entitled:
    [b]Aberdeen only major city to ‘grow through downturn'[/b]

    “The analysis showed Edinburgh and Glasgow joining Aberdeen in the top five.”

    Propaganda by omission and otherwise playing down the facts.

    Contrast that with the Scotsman article headed:
    [b]Edinburgh gives more to UK than any other city [/b]

    • BBC Scotchland have already relegated this positive story to the bottom of the page. Can’t have them saying anything positive about Scotland’s economy when they have a ‘no’ campaign to win. At around 70 words and no analysis of how well our cities are doing in the BBC article, the BBC could learn alot from NNS. In tough times its good to have glimmers of hope to sew confidence.

  4. .. but hang on a second are we to believe this survey?

    People are saying well if the Scottish cities are doing better than others in the UK what is so bad about the UK? Democratic deficit not withstanding.

    • What is different is that Scotland has a Government which is wholly dependent on Scottish votes and works night and day with Scotland’s interests 1st, always.

    • How about being the 4th most unequal country in the developed world. Maybe the mountain of debt. Then there’s being way down the human development index behind the Czech Repubic and Slovakia. That and having WMDs foisted on us…

      Personally, its living in a democracy I’m hoping for as a priority. Sharing an electoral system with e.g. Iran, Yemen and Zimbabwe does not fill me with pride.

    • The problem with this argument is Scotland does not benefit from the money. Look at Glasgows position and then look at the levels of poverty rife within the city.

      If issues like deprivation, child poverty, life expectancy and education were superior in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK (As we should be as per capita we are considerably richer) then this argument might have some credence. It just shows where the subsidy flows i’m afraid and the blind robbing of Scotlands wealth.

      Extrapolate this to a bigger scale

      GDP per capita. 2010-2011

      Scotland £27,732.14
      UK £23,736.52
      rUK £23,370.71

      Clearly Scotland should be doing much better on these issues than the UK when we look at our respective wealth. But sadly we are not.

    • To try to answer my own question, I’ve been keen to send out this article

      where George Kerevan writes:

      “the gap between Scotland and the UK is much narrower, with Scottish living standards staying close to the UK average over the past generation and occasionally even surpassing it. Does this let Cameron off the hook? Not at all.

      The reason for the difference between average and per capita growth rates is population change. Scotland’s seeming ability to maintain its share (per head) of the UK cake is the result of the massive population loss that resulted from industrial decline, not the result of economic growth. Scotland’s population today, despite a rise under devolution, is barely 1 per cent higher than in the early 1950s. Contrast that with Ireland, which has seen an increase in population of more than 40 per cent by reversing out-migration (at least until the current downturn). You can’t drive hundreds of thousands of Scots abroad and then claim the Union delivered per capita growth at home.

      Scotland’s slow-growing population affected the domestic service economy, which is the modern driver of growth. Though the data is complicated to interpret, it seems much of the recent lag in growth lies in the weakness of the retail sector and business services. That’s no surprise given the limited consumer base and the erosion of local entrepreneurship. Imagine instead a dynamic Scotland with a population of seven million today rather than five million, with a correspondingly bigger internal market.”

  5. and see the current edition of The Economist for an article on how the Scottish Government’s inward investment policy is helping Scotland out-perform regions of England

  6. NNS says-

    “The list demonstrates that three out of the top [b]ten[/b] cities in the UK in terms of their contribution to the UK economy are in Scotland.”

    They’re in the top 5 cities according to the guys who did the analysis.

    “Scottish cities storm ahead – with three of top five most productive UK cities based north of the border”

    Hope you’re not trying to put Scotland down NNS 🙂

  7. O/T Someone really needs to have a word with the Lards about the “agreement” over the Scotland Bill. They are still amending their little socks off like there is no tomorrow. I really don’t understand their enthusiastic work ethic if it’s all for nothing. :-


    • They are most definitely taking the p*** aren’t they?

      Well, we’ve got to win independence even more now. We can’t have this shower of barstewards destroying our childrens futures now can we?

      A lot of the ammendments are written to hide their true intent as far as I can see. Perhaps it would be sensible for a praisee’ to be written shown the intent or thrust of each ammendment because this represents the “line in the sand” that the unionists will be using as their argument for keeping the union together and if we understand it, we can use the Scotland Bill as a big stick to overcome the unionists arguments.

  8. London is a parasitic organism if you read between the lines of the article. It needs heavy subsidy from Westmidden and look at all those unaccounted for Olympic projects and the huge infrastructure investments from the Scottish tax payer and lottery playersthat went to pay for it all.

    It also needs to pretty much import everything from food, energy and talent etc. Yip a sponging parasite!

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