§ Mr. Rosindell
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the prospects for the Scottish economy. 
§ Mrs. McGuire
The prospects for the Scottish economy are good. Unemployment is around its lowest level for a generation and employment is close to a record high. Growth figures have recently been revised upwards to better reflect real changes in the economy. Inflation and interest rates are low by historical standards. There is a growing consensus among business surveys pointing towards a continued strengthening of business activity in Scotland in both services and manufacturing. Furthermore, independent forecasters predict above-trend growth continuing in 2004 and 2005.