Economy and Infrastructure
Scotland has a western style open mixed economy that is closely linked with the rest of Europe and the wider world. Traditionally, the Scottish economy has been dominated by heavy industry underpinned by the shipbuilding in Glasgow, coal mining and steel industries. Petroleum related industries associated with the extraction of North Sea oil have also been important employers from the 1970s, especially in the north east of Scotland.
De-industrialisation during the 1970s and 1980s saw a shift from a manufacturing focus towards a more service-oriented economy. Edinburgh is the financial services centre of Scotland and the sixth largest financial centre in Europe in terms of funds under management, behind London, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich and Amsterdam, with many large finance firms based there, including: Lloyds Banking Group (owners of the Halifax Bank of Scotland); the Government owned Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life.
In 2005, total Scottish exports (excluding intra-UK trade) were provisionally estimated to be £17.5 billion, of which 70% (£12.2 billion) were attributable to manufacturing. Scotland's primary exports include whisky, electronics and financial services. The United States, Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain constitute the country's major export markets. Scotland's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), including oil and gas produced in Scottish waters, was estimated at £137.5 billion for the calendar year 2009. If Scotland became independent, it would hold 90% of the UK's current oil and gas reserves if they were split geographically using a median line from the English-Scottish border. If the reserves were to be split by population, that figure would be reduced to 9%.
Scotland accounts for 9.2% of total UK public spending, but 8.3% of the UK's non-oil tax revenues. When a geographical share of UK Oil and Gas reserves is added, Scotland accounts for 9.4% of UK tax-revenues.
Tourism is widely recognised as a key contributor to the Scottish economy. A briefing published in 2002 by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, (SPICe), for the Scottish Parliament's Enterprise and Life Long Learning Committee, stated that tourism accounted for up to 5% of GDP and 7.5% of employment.
As of September 2012, the unemployment rate in Scotland stood at 8.1%— slightly above the UK average of 7.8%.
Read more about this topic: Scotland
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