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Economic and business performance and trends across Scotland’s regions


This study sought to bring together a wide range of data available at a regional level, to give a wider view of the economic and business performance of the regions of Scotland. The idea was by bringing a range of factors together rather than just looking at elements in isolation or perhaps links to just one aspect, we would gain a better understanding of regional strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges, to develop evidence-led interventions relevant to places’ own needs. The data identified also offered the opportunity to look not just at performance but give some indication of trends over the last decade or so. Once in comparable form, regions were scored in each indicator from best to worst, and grouped into themes, combining the individual scores for an overall score, in both performance and in trends. The aim was to understand the different growth dynamics across and within regions, as well as specific strengths and/or weaknesses, challenges or opportunities faced by regions.


The research was conducted through identifying official sources of data, predominantly Office for National Statistics and the Scottish Government. Additional data sources came from analysis SE has run on data available through subscriptions. For example, the acquisitions data came from the Bureau-van-Dijk subscription database, Zephyr. The data used in this analysis only uses comparable metrics. It does not for example, compare on totals since this would not be a fair comparison. Every measure available was included in performance at this stage and elements showing change over time were also grouped separately into the trends data. These scores in this report reflect therefore, the comparative performance and trends of Scotland’s regions.


The data (used to date) finds that on a range of comparable measures, Scotland’s regional performance spans three tiers: high-performing – Edinburgh and South East, Glasgow City Region and Aberdeen City & Shire; room to improve – Tay Cities, Stirling, Clackmannan and Falkirk, and Highlands and Islands; and falling behind – Ayrshires and South of Scotland. The gap between and within regions is increasing. But the gap is increasing at a faster pace between (not within) regions. The largest cities are outpacing those regions with smaller cities or in rural and remote areas of Scotland.


No recommendations were made in this report.

Author Scottish Enterprise
Published Year 2020
Report Type Research