SCC Quarterly Economic Indicator Q4 2019


The latest Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) Quarterly Economic Indicator in partnership with the University of Strathclyde Business School’s Fraser of Allander Institute survey for Q4 of 2019 has been published (January 23).

The survey shows that businesses are in a period of stasis with global and domestic factors all contributing to subdued levels of confidence and investment. These results indicate continued low levels of business confidence, perhaps partially impacted by the survey being conducted during an election; the lack of certainty has continued to affect sentiment and investment.  Activity has continued to be broadly flat over Q4 in most sectors. 

Commenting on the results, Professor Graeme Roy, Director at the Fraser of Allander Institute, said, “These latest results from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Quarterly Economic Indicator, suggest that the positive but challenging conditions many sectors faced in 2019 have continued into 2020. This is not that surprising.

“The global outlook continues to remain fragile. Here at home, last month’s data showed economic growth tracking at less than 1% over the 12 months to September, marking another year of below par performance for the Scottish economy.

“And whilst December’s decisive General Election result removed any immediate threat of crashing out of the EU with ‘no deal’, it is important to remember that this was just the end of the phase one negotiations, and the decisive end-point for agreeing an all-important trade deal is less than 12 months away.”

Commenting on the results, Tim Allan, Chairman of the Scottish Business Advisory Group and President of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said,  “Given recent prolonged uncertainty and trading conditions, these flat results are not surprising. The business challenges prevalent in 2019 are showing signs of continuing into 2020 with business confidence at worryingly low levels.

“The decisive election result at Westminster is yet to provide the clear direction that business communities are looking for. Of particular concern to businesses will be the extent of divergence the UK Government plans to adopt between UK and EU regulation. This continued uncertainty, coupled with a continued sense of “election-style” policy making, has the potential to disrupt business planning, supply chains, as well as negatively impacting on job creation.

“Business sustainability, economic certainty and a healthy planet are the watchwords for 2020. The role of business to leverage private sector innovation and solutions to the big economic and societal challenges should not be underestimated by either Holyrood or Westminster. Our message to government is clear: work with business to build a fair and thriving economy that provides jobs, stability and valued public services.”

A copy of this report can be downloaded from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network

Published: 23 January 2020

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