The economy shrank by 0.3% between April and June, a loss compounded by the fact that the biggest falls occurred in sectors which had performed well in the previous quarter, Presstv Reported.
According to reports, construction activity has sharply reduced in the second quarter and the service sector has not grown either.
Not surprisingly, today’s depressing news has elicited sharply different explanations from the Scottish government and Westminster.
The Scottish finance secretary, Derek Mackay, blamed the “Brexit impact” for the reduction in economic output.
“There can now be no doubt that any form of Brexit will damage our economy and a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for Scotland and could push the country into recession”, Mackay said.
Mackay added that: “the responsibility for this contraction lies entirely with the UK government”.
Meanwhile, Westminster’s man in Scotland, the Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, tried to blame the Scottish government for the poor economic performance.
Jack said that the Scottish government should use its “considerable powers” to improve the economy rather than “holding it back” with “threats of a second independence referendum”.
The spat between Mackay and Jack is emblematic of the deep polarization in Scottish politics, where every disagreement gets bound up with the heated debate over a second Scottish independence referendum.
The Scottish government, led by Nicola Sturgeon, wants to hold a referendum on Scottish independence in the second half of 2020.
Sturgeon, who is the leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), argues that a second referendum is needed as the Scottish people did not vote to leave the European Union.
But the SNP’s plans are strongly opposed by London. In a trip to Aberdeenshire earlier this month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will not agree to a Section 30 order to grant an independence referendum in Scotland.
A Section 30 order is a mechanism in the Scotland Act 1998 which grants legislative authority to the Scottish Parliament over certain strategic affairs, including the power to hold lawful referenda.