SCOTTISH economic growth was four times that in the UK as a whole in the first quarter, official figures show.

Figures published today by the Scottish Government show gross domestic product north of the Border in the opening three months of this year was up by 0.4 per cent on the fourth quarter of 2022. UK GDP grew by only 0.1% quarter-on-quarter in the opening three months of this year, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

READ MORE: Keir Starmer must raise head above red wall and see reality of Brexit

Comparing the first quarter with the opening three months of last year, Scottish GDP was up by 0.3%. This was ahead of year-on-year growth of 0.2% in the first quarter in the UK as a whole.

The Scottish Government noted that the largest contribution to first-quarter GDP growth came from expansion in transport, storage and communications services.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Will Scotland’s success put a smile on the face of Douglas Ross?

Scottish growth in the first quarter of 2023 represents an acceleration from expansion of 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of last year. GDP had dipped by 0.3% in the third quarter of last year and been flat in the three months to June 2022.

Expansion in the first quarter of this year was broadly based. 

READ MORE: 'Slow death' of Scotland's power base 

The services sector grew by 0.2% quarter-on-quarter in the opening three months of this year, with construction expanding by 0.7%. Output of the production sector increased by 0.8%.

However, the Scottish Government was cautious about the economic outlook.

It said in the GDP data release: "The start of 2023 has seen a slight improvement in economic activity and optimism compared to the second half of 2022, during which economic output remained broadly flat and inflation rose to its highest rate since 1981. However, economic conditions are extremely challenging and the outlook for the year ahead remains subdued."