SCOTTISH economic growth will outstrip UK-wide expansion over 2019 as a whole, PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts.

Among the nations and regions of the UK, only London and the south-east are expected to beat Scotland in terms of growth this year.

The accountancy firm has cut its growth forecast for Scotland for this year from the 1.6 per cent rate projected in July to 1.3%. It now predicts UK-wide growth of 1.2% this year.

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The economy north of the Border grew by 1.4% last year, according to Scottish Government data.

Economists have flagged the drag from Brexit-related uncertainty on growth both in Scotland and across the UK. Scottish and UK-wide expansion have been well below the long-term average in recent times.

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Scottish growth is forecast by PwC to slow to just 1% in 2020, in line with projected UK-wide expansion next year.

Stewart Wilson, head of government and public sector for PwC in Scotland, said: “Our latest projections indicate that Scotland’s economy should perform relatively well both this year and next, slightly ahead of the UK overall. However, growth remains subdued relative to long-term trends.”

He added: “The economy is likely to remain subject to volatility given the current uncertainty in the country and across the world.

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However, there could be a modest uplift in business investment should the UK finally secure an orderly Brexit. Even so, uncertainty across the global economy means growth is unlikely to return to previous levels next year.”

In its latest UK economic outlook, PwC analyses productivity. It concludes UK output per worker is around 10% to 15% behind Germany, France and Sweden and more than 30% adrift of the US.

PwC senior economist Alex Tuckett, said: “It is striking that the UK lags behind other advanced economies. Evidence suggests that this productivity shortfall is due to low levels of investment and R&D (research and development) spending and a longer tail of companies and workers with relatively low productivity and skills.”