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London's spending boost as Scotland stagnates

LONDON was probably the only part of the UK to enjoy a rise in consumer spending between 2006 and 2012 in real terms, but Scotland likely managed to stand still on this measure while every-where else suffered a fall.

These are the conclusions of a study by respected consultancy Capital Economics, which estimates average, inflation-adjusted growth of consumer spending in London between 2006 and 2012 at 0.7% per annum.

Explaining London's outperformance of other parts of the UK, in terms of consumer spending during a period which takes in the deep 2008/09 downturn and double-dip recession between October 2011 and June 2012, Capital says in its latest UK Cities & Regions Focus study: "This particularly reflected growth in the financial, professional and digital sectors, boosting employment and particularly pay."

It adds: "These sectors are now facing some challenges in London, but any difficulties are likely to be overcome, and consumer spending in the capital should continue to outperform the rest of the UK over the next four years."

Giving its view that Scotland fared second-best in the UK in terms of consumer spending, London-based Capital adds: "Although not exactly a strong performance (by London), this is clearly better than our estimates of what other regions managed to achieve.

"It is likely that, in every other region, consumer spending declined in real terms, or was flat in the case of Scotland."

Capital noted the fact that Edinburgh, like London, had a concentration of financial services activity, but cited its belief that this was too small to make a "huge impact" on the overall pattern of the Scottish economy.

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