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Domestic Growth

Volume 451: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. Sarwar) is not present, so Question 6 has not been called. However, the hon. Member for North Ayrshire and Arran (Ms Clark) is here, so I call Question 7.

7. What assessment he has made of the most recent gross domestic product growth figures for Scotland; and if he will make a statement. (98831)

As I have said, Scotland continues to benefit from the economic stability delivered by the Government, which is demonstrated by the recent gross domestic product data. I welcome those figures, which show output growth of 0.6 per cent. in the past quarter and 2.2 per cent. in the past year. That is above the long-term trend rate of growth for the Scottish economy.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is no coincidence that the growth figures go together with the highest number of people in employment in Scotland? Will he confirm that the Government will continue to have full employment as one of our most important objectives?

I agree with my hon. Friend. When the late John Smith made the claim that full employment would again be at the centre of the Labour party’s economic strategy, it was perceived as a bold, innovative and radical proposal. The fact that people now regard without surprise our extraordinarily successful employment record not only in Scotland but throughout the United Kingdom is testimony to his wisdom and foresight when he said, almost 50 years after the Beveridge commission, that we should again place full employment at the centre of the Labour party’s economic strategy.