GDP has been open for revision back to the start of 2020. Due to our data sources and methods being similar to, or in some case directly derived from, the UK statistics produced by the ONS, there are some changes to the recent trends in Scotland which mirror the latest UK statistics published on 29 September, including the upward revisions to GDP growth in 2021 in particular.
However, there are differences between the estimates for Scotland and the UK after 2019 due to the faster timescales for methodology updates at UK level. This means that not all industries can be compared with the UK on a like for like basis at this time. While the level of output in some industries and in total GDP are still broadly comparable to the UK as a whole, for many industries those comparisons should be made with caution. For example, estimates for manufacturing made a significant downward contribution to revisions at UK level in 2021, while retail and wholesale made a significant upward contribution, but neither of these revisions are reflected in the estimates for Scotland at this time.
Specifically, whilst the UK statistics for real terms GDP growth are based on double deflated gross value added (GVA) for 2020 and 2021 (that is, the prices of both outputs and inputs are separately accounted for), the estimates for Scotland are only double deflated up to 2019 and the estimates for 2020 onwards are based on output only.
Learning from the experience at UK level, where the introduction of double deflated estimates for 2020 in September 2022 led to large downward revisions to GDP, which were then largely reversed by large upward revisions when double deflated estimates were introduced in September 2023, we plan to wait until we can produce double deflated estimates for both years before introducing them into our time series at the same time. This development is intended to maintain stability in the estimates for Scotland, but at the expense of some comparability with the figures for the UK as a whole. On current timescales, we are likely to introduce double deflated GDP for 2020 and 2021 in the release for 2024 Quarter 3, following the production of Supply and Use tables for 1998-2021 (autumn 2024) based on the ONS Regional GDP statistics for the same period (summer 2024) which are derived from the ONS Blue Book 2023 statistics released on 31 October 2023.
Users should continue to be cautious about drawing conclusions based on comparisons between Scotland and the UK or other countries for the periods when the economy was most severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The estimates of GDP from 2020 onwards are continuing to evolve as more data becomes available, and it is likely that these results will change again in future releases.
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