SHETLAND has one of the healthiest economies in Scotland with a predicted growth of 6.4 per cent over the next three years, according to Inverness-based economist Tony Mackay.
Between 2012 and 2014 only Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire local authority areas are expected to outperform the isles with a growth rate of 6.8 per cent, the analyst said on Thursday.
The main drivers, he said, are the North Sea oil and gas industries, which are enjoying a boom thanks to the high price of oil.
Mr MacKay predicts the overall Scottish economy will grow by 4.8 per cent over the next three years – 0.7 per cent in 2012, 1.8 per cent in 2013 and 2.3 per cent in 2014.
The forecast of economic growth was welcomed by SIC development committee chairman Alastair Cooper, who stressed that the local economy would be even stronger if were not for public sector cutbacks.
“I can envisage the growth Mr Mackay is speaking about given Total’s activity in Shetland, and given the fact that BP at Sullom Voe Terminal is looking at putting new kit into the facility at significant cost,” he said.
“I think the prospects for the oil industry around here are very good. Having said that we also have to recognise the fact that local government and health will be contracting over the next four years with much tighter budgets and to some extent that will mask the real growth that could be in the real economy.
“With the seafood sector also doing well I think we have a lot to look forward to, but we need to balance that with the public sector reductions,” he said.
In comparison, Orkney’s economy is forecast to grow by only 4.1 per cent over the next three years, caused mainly by the reduced throughput of the Flotta oil terminal.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 500 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News