By Ian McConnell

SCOTTISH economic output grew by 0.9 per cent month-on-month in February, official figures estimate, outstripping UK-wide expansion of 0.4%.

The seasonally adjusted data, published yesterday by the Scottish Government, show Scotland’s onshore gross domestic product was after this rise in February down by 7.4% on its pre-pandemic level in the same month of last year.

Data published last week by the Office for National Statistics showed UK gross domestic product rose by 0.4% in February, to be down 7.8% from its pre-pandemic level in the same month of 2020.

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Scotland’s onshore GDP, which excludes offshore oil and gas extraction, was in February 3.3% below the recent high point in October before restrictions were imposed over winter months. Services sector output in Scotland rose by 1% month-on-month in February. The production sector grew 0.9% and, within this, manufacturing output increased by 0.2%. Construction output rose 1.6% month-on-month.

The Scottish Government release states: “Scotland’s onshore GDP is provisionally estimated to have increased by 0.9% in February, as restrictions on economic activity continued but some primary year groups returned to in-school learning. In February, there was growth in each of the production, construction and services sectors, but output remained relatively subdued while restrictions continued for consumer services such as retail and hospitality.”

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It observes the largest contribution to services output growth came from “the education sub-sector, due to the return to school for primary years one to three on 22 February”.

The ONS observed UK GDP in February was “3.1% below the initial recovery peak in October 2020”. UK services output grew 0.2% month-on-month in February. The ONS noted UK “wholesale and retail trade sales picked up a little but, overall, consumer-facing services industries remain well below pre-pandemic levels”.