SCOTLAND'S economy is set to exceed previous growth expectation, prompted by a revival in consumer confidence and the prospect of an improved global economy, an Ernst and Young report claims
It said the economy will grow by 2.4% in 2014, well above the 1.7% expected six months ago, with the upgrade seized on by Cabinet Secretary John Swinney as showing it had the "most supportive business environment in the UK".
The Scottish economy is predicted to achieve growth of 1.9% in both 2015 and 2016.
But the report says it will trail overall UK growth by around 0.5 percentage points this year and next, due partly to the relative size of Scotland's public sector and lower population growth.
New figures show shopper numbers in Scotland last month were 0.6% higher than a year ago and above the entire UK, where shopper numbers were down 0.2%. The Scottish Retail Consortium said for the second month in a row the number of shoppers visiting Scotland's high streets was above the level witnessed during the same period last year. Dougie Adams, senior economic advisor to the Ernst and Young Scottish ITEM Club, said: "This year is shaping up to be the best for Scottish economic growth since the onset of the financial crisis, with business investments and exports adding momentum to the consumer-driven recovery."