By a Newsnet reporter
A new report published by Ernst and Young has predicted that Scottish exports will soar over the next four years with engineering, chemicals, aerospace and whisky performing well.
According to the leading accountancy, Scottish exports will grow from £18.2 billion in 2012 to £20.1bn in 2017 in real terms.
In its report – UK Goods Export Monitor – the firm says the rise in exports will give Scotland a compound annual growth rate of 2% which is well ahead of a the 0.3% for the UK as a whole and twice that of the European average.
Jim Bishop, Ernst & Young’s senior partner for Scotland, said: “The whisky industry has grasped the thistle and is benefiting from rapid overseas growth, but other sectors and companies are to be encouraged to follow its lead. Scotland’s reputation for manufacturing excellence shines through in the engineering figures, while it’s encouraging to note the predicted increase in chemical exports.”
He added: “There is a feeling that the chemical industry could become a crucial contributor to Scotland’s economic performance, more so even than now. That was recently highlighted by the approval of Falkirk Council’s Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) scheme by the Scottish Government where the chemical sciences sector is expected to play a key role in the region’s regeneration and development.”
Mr Bishop also highlighted the benefits of next year’s Commonwealth games in Glasgow: “It’s stunning to consider that the Commonwealth makes up 30% of the world. That incorporates a couple of billion people in some of the fastest-growing economies where Scotland is exporting.”
Responding to the report, Finance Secretary John Swinney said:
“The findings of the Ernst and Young report are welcome and show a projected export performance by Scottish companies that will outstrip the rest of the UK in the next five years.
“Growth sectors such as chemicals, engineering, beverage and aerospace are essential if Scotland is to move on to a more sustainable, balanced path of growth and economic success. Scotland’s drinks industry is also performing strongly with whisky exports set to rise to £4.5 billion by 2017.
“This report recognises the huge economic opportunities that the 2014 Games offers Scotland. Scottish companies have already won approximately 75 per cent of the Games’ contracts let by the Organising Committee and this Government is determined to build on that, through the delivery of a business legacy programme, delivered by Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland working collaboratively with Scottish business.
“Competing in a the global economy is challenging but the Scottish Government and our enterprise agencies will continue to help encourage more growth companies to become active exporters. With the full fiscal and economic powers of independence the Scottish Government could do yet more to strengthen our economy and create jobs.”