Scottish Economic Statistics 2008

This is the ninth edition of the annual publication Scottish Economic Statistics, which is produced by statisticians in the Scottish Government.


Scottish Economic Statistics

Robust economic statistics are at the heart of understanding economic progress and underpin economic policy decisions and development. Scottish Economic Statistics seeks to maximise the accessibility of statistical information on the Scottish economy. 1 Its key objectives are to present the primary economic data for Scotland, and to share some of the thinking that surrounds the preparation of these data.

As with previous editions, Scottish Economic Statistics 2008 is split into two parts:

Part A - Articles. This section provides three articles on developments in statistics on the Scottish economy. In summary, this year's articles are:

  • Producing current price GDP estimates for Scotland: this article builds on the work carried out to estimate Scottish cash GDP estimates under various scenarios for the review of the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland ( GERS) publication.
  • Low pay and in-work poverty in Scotland: this article discusses people living in in-work poverty and explores the often complex relationship between different factors such as low pay, benefit income and family type.
  • Financial Intermediation Services Indirectly Measured ( FISIM): this article explains methodological improvements in the calculation and allocation of FISIM, summarises the reasons for the changes and reviews the methodology and effects of the change.

Part B - Tables and Commentary. This section is organised into six chapters, each with a short introductory text followed by tables. Sub-Scotland tables and charts have been indexed within the contents page to enable readers to find these more easily.

  • Economic Accounts: summary macro-economic indicators;
  • Enterprises: businesses in Scotland, knowledge economy;
  • Industry Sectors: primary industries, manufacturing, energy, chemicals and services;
  • Labour Market: information on demographics, employment, earnings, unemployment, training;
  • Household Sector: income and expenditure of Scottish households;
  • Public Sector: revenue and expenditure, public sector employment.

Changes to this edition

This publication of Scottish Economic Statistics 2008, reverts to the publication schedule adopted before the 2007 edition. This is simply to fit with rescheduling of other publications.

As Scottish Economic Statistics can not be expanded indefinitely, the content of this edition varies to a small degree from earlier editions. Where tables are no longer included, it is likely that the information is still available, either from the Scottish Government website via or on request.

The Development of Economic Statistics in Scotland

The Scottish Economic Statistics Plan for 2008-09 can be accessed on the Scottish Government's website using the following link: .

The Scottish Economic Statistics Consultants Group ( SESCG) - established in 2001 to advise on the priorities for, and approach to, the development of economic statistics - has continued to meet on a six monthly basis. This group also serves as the economics committee within the wider ScotStat framework. The Group meets to advise on both the technical questions involved in enhancing our statistical knowledge and on where efforts might be most appropriately directed. Further details about the activity of SESCG, including minutes of the meetings, can be found using the following link: .

In addition to these bi-annual meetings, an Input-Output Expert Users Group ( IOEUG) has been established to discuss issues specific to the development of Input-Output tables. The minutes and papers of this group are available on the web.

Readers who wish to be kept up to date with current developments in methodology and data sources, SESCG activity and publication schedules may register their interests at the ScotStat website. .

The register allows users and providers of Scottish Statistics to be consulted on specific topics of interest.

Recent developments

In the course of 2007-08, there were several important developments in enhancing Scottish economic statistics in Scotland.

Macro-economic statistics

  • Incorporation of improved measures of public sector output in the quarterly GDP system (published in October 2007);
  • Publication of a feasibility study into the future production of a quarterly expenditure measure of GDP;
  • Major re-write of the Global Connections Survey ( GCS) system;
  • Improvements to Input-Output methodology, especially relating to the treatment of taxes and margins.

Public Sector Finance statistics

  • More focus on producing and understanding total public sector financial statistics in Scotland;
  • Inter-governmental review of the data sources and methodologies used for the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland ( GERS) publication;
  • Review of capital returns (part 2007-08 to be completed 2008-09);
  • Development of non-domestic rates ( NDR) properties/business linkage analysis (part - to be completed 2008-09).

Business and Enterprise statistics

  • Scottish Remote Virtual Microdata Laboratory ( RVML) established in Glasgow to provide researchers with controlled access to government microdata for analysis;
  • Initial development of a proxy measure for the Scottish Government's national indicator on turnover of the Social Economy;
  • Obtained access to Scottish business Research and Development (R&D) micro data to facilitate more detailed analysis of Scottish performance.

Labour Market statistics

  • Achieved National Statistics status for the Public Sector Employment series - first National Statistics version of the publication in June 2008.

Priority developments for 2008-09

There is a wide range of areas in which enhancements are being made, but the priorities that are being pursued in 2008 and 2009 are:

  • Publication of GERS, following an extensive review of data sources, methodology and presentation in June 2008. This advances the timetable by six months.
  • Working towards publishing a consistent set of Scottish Input-Output tables for 1998 to 2004. This project involves multiyear balances to harmonise the tables with ONS regional accounts publications and UK Blue Book revisions over time.
  • The launch of the Scottish National Accounts Project ( SNAP) in October 2008. Further details may be found here:


Finally, I would acknowledge the major contribution made to the preparation and compilation of this report by Richard Morrison and Kenny Grant in the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser. In addition to those named authors in Part A of this edition, I would also acknowledge the contribution of the statistical staff in Business Enterprise Statistics, Labour Market Statistics and the Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate, together with the continuing contributions and advice from officials in other UK Government Departments, including, most notably, the Office for National Statistics.

Chief Economic Adviser

December 2008

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