About GDP

Background information and guidance on the Scottish Government's quarterly gross domestic product (GDP).

GDP User Survey 2021 (closed on 13 August 2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented changes in the economy and the way in which we measure it. Over the last year, the Scottish Government has developed some new statistics to track the economy in a more detailed and timely manner than ever before, but has also had to scale back some other work.

During the summer we ran a short online survey, which will help us to understand how our statistics are being used, what is valued and what could be improved in our current publications, and what should be the main priorities for our developments in the coming year.

copy of the survey is still available online. Although we have closed the online collection of views, if you would like to contact us about any aspect of our GDP statistics then please email us at economic.statistics@gov.scot.

We are currently reviewing the responses to the survey and will provide an update on our plans in due course.

Scottish Fiscal Commission: statement of data needs

The Scottish Fiscal Commission published its first annual Statement of Data Needs on 5 September 2018. The statement outlines the data the SFC require for its forecasts and highlights priorities for new or improved data.

Three of the SFC’s main priorities for development of economic data relate to statistics in this publication. The plans relating to these priorities are summarised below.

More detailed breakdowns of Household sector income for Scotland

The ONS has produced underlying breakdowns for some components of annual Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) up to 2016. These have been used for the first time in the 2018 Quarter 2 release to produce quarterly results at the more detailed level. Table X2 includes these sub-components listed below:

  • D.1 COE is now split between D.11 Wages and Salaries and D.12 Employer’s Social Contributions. HMRC experimental statistics on earnings from real-time information on income tax (PAYE RTI) have been used for the most recent sub-components.
  • B.2g Mixed Income (self employed earnings) is now separated from B.3g Gross Operating Surplus (imputed rental of owner occupiers)
  • D.6 Social Transfer Resources is now split between D.61 Employers’ Social Contributions, D.621 Social Security Benefits, D.622 Other Social Benefits (such as workplace pensions) and D.623 Social Assistance Benefits.

GDP by Expenditure chainlinked volume measures (real terms)

The development of first experimental estimates of real GDP(E) have been prioritised for the second half of 2018-19, building on work in recent years to improve the detail of GDP(E) in current prices.

The first estimates of real GDP(E) have been published in the Quarterly National Accounts for 2018 Q4. Prior to this, estimates based on 2018 Q3 have been shared with the SFC for development purposes. Table X3 includes the first estimates in 2015 prices.

The initial approach to real GDP(E) is based on the following components:

  • HHFCE, GFCF, ROW trade in services and all RUK trade have been deflated using detailed UK domestic price indices held in the GDP(o) system.
  • NPISH and GGFCE using volume indicators of non-market output from the GDP(o) system, such as cost weighted activity of healthcare.
  • Exports of goods are based on the index of manufactured exports, using a mixture of detailed Export Price Indices and export volumes for some goods. Imports of goods are mostly deflated using slighly less detailed UK import price indices.
  • Changes in inventories have been initially deflated using the Scottish GDP deflator and then further adjusted to improve alignment between the annual growth rates of GDP(E) and GDP(O).

​All aspects of this methodology remain open for review and further improvement. In particular, introducing consumer prices to HHFCE and improving the breakdowns of GGFCE and government investment (see below).

Users are advised that the initial results are less reliable for the period 1998-2015 than for recent years. This is because the results for the early years are currently locked down in the annual supply and use tables which were produced in current prices only. Results will begin to be reviewed in volume terms as well as current prices during the annual update to the supply and use tables. 

A summary of the available data, methods and initial estimates is planned for publication soon. This will be discussed with the SFC and other interested users to identify priorities for further development in 2019-20. Quarterly updates to the results are planned following 2018 Q4.

Breakdowns of public sector expenditure in Scotland

Government consumption expenditure is currently split between local and central government, but with no split between Scottish Government and reserved department spend. There is no breakdown at all for government GFCF. Estimates of these breakdowns will be made using analysis of data from the Online System for Central Accounting and Reporting (OSCAR) spending database and other sources. These results can also feed into the development of real GDP(E) estimates noted above. As such, initial estimates are planned for peer review with the SFC during 2019, and results will be published as soon as possible thereafter with the intention to provide quarterly updates when possible.



If you have any questions about this site, please contact the National Accounts Unit as follows:

Phone: Sandy Stewart - Statistician (Head of Unit) - 0131 244 2825

Email: economic.statistics@gov.scot


National Accounts Unit
Office of the Chief Economic Adviser
Room 4WR
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh, EH1 3DG

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