More bad news this morning to demonstrate the impact public spending cuts will have on Scotland, even ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review next week.
The hard numbers come from the latest unemployment statistics that show Scotland is rising faster than any other part of the UK, with 13,000 more people joining the job queues over the summer- the equivalent of 140 a day. The rate of increase of people looking for work was double the next highest UK region.
Other data comes from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce whose latest survey found that confidence weakened across all sectors of Scottish business in the third quarter. Optimism in key sectors including manufacturing plunged to levels last seen in the first quarter of 2009, when Scotland was deep in recession. These findings indicate that many of the private sector firms, who the UK government expect to lead the recovery, fear that the medicine prescribed to cure the public sector deficit may now tip the country back into recession. A view confirmed by the Chambers spokesperson on BBC radio this morning.
The Herald comments that the recovery in Scotland is starting to feel more like a recession as firms prepare for deep cuts in public spending to take a heavy toll on the private sector. While Scotland formally exited recession in the final quarter of 2009, official data show that the economy flatlined between January and March.
I am off to the SNP conference in Perth today. We will be highlighting some of these issues at our fringe meeting this evening.