Economic Overview

North east Scotland contributes substantially to both the Scottish and wider UK economy with Gross Value Added (GVA) of £17.5 billion in 2016, accounting for 13.1% of total Scottish GVA compared to a 9.1% population share; 21% of Scotland’s export value; 18% of business research and development investment; and 14% of registered enterprises.

It is a highly productive economy with strengths in exports and innovation, primarily driven by the oil and gas sector.  The challenge of anchoring economic activity and value long term while driving productivity across the industrial base requires a long-term commitment to action, investment and prioritisation on the part of all partners.

Significant under investment in infrastructure, both physical and digital, a high cost of living and an economy dominated by oil and gas have combined to present us with a major challenge.

The Renaissance vision for the region comprises three elements:

  • Maximising the economic recovery of UK offshore oil and gas reserves, transitioning Aberdeen to a global innovation and technology centre, and anchoring the oil and gas supply chain post-North Sea production through internationalisation, diversification and developing a leading position in energy transition.
  • The economy becoming broader and more resilient through growth in the other key industry sectors, with sustained economic performance distributed across the city and region.
  • Continued investment in the region and its economic base enhancing productivity, competitiveness and quality of location, and attracting international business and talent.

Recognising these challenges and the opportunities ahead, the Regional Economic Strategy – published in December 2015 by Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Opportunity North East – produced a vision and strategy for the future of the economy. This focuses on four key strands: investment in infrastructure; innovation; inclusive economic growth; and internationalisation.

With the private and public sectors working together, we can realise our shared vision of North East Scotland remaining a major economic driver for Scotland and the UK.