Study paints Scotland by numbers

September 12, 1997

Glasgow Caledonian University this week launched an initiative to gather and publish information which it says is vital to a Scottish parliament and everyone concerned with Scotland's government.

The newly published Caledonian Blue Book, national accounts for Scotland between 1951 to 1996, aims to measure the parts of the Scottish economy that official statistics do not reach, providing information missing from the United Kingdom's official statistics.

Hervey Gibson, chief executive of Cogent Strategies International and GCU visiting professor, compiled and co-authored the book. He said: "There is far too much ignorance about the Scottish economy.

"Consumption patterns are based at best on sampling the spending of a few hundred households three years ago.

"Reliance is placed on a voluntary membership body for estimates of our foreign exports and we have no regular or recent data on trade with the rest of the United Kingdom or on foreign imports."

The Blue Book says it has "stitched together" data from government, academic and commercial sources in a bid to fill the gap. The university plans ongoing research into the Scottish economy.

Professor Gibson said he hoped the book would be updated annually, offering an important point of reference not only to debaters and policy-makers but also students and researchers.

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