Scotland had a £12.6bn deficit last year despite more than £1.4billion in North Sea receipts, according to new tax and spending figures.
European stock markets remained in the red as fears over banks and the global slowdown kept equities under pressure. The FTSE 100 Index fell 18.3 points to 5670.1, losing early session gains as European markets dropped following a punishing session in Asia where Japan’s market plummeted 5.4% in the face of the potential for more global economic gloom.
Britain’s trade deficit narrowed to £3.2 billion in November, as plunging oil prices cut the cost of imports. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the total trade deficit for goods and services fell from £3.5 billion in October. It added that the deficit for goods alone also narrowed to £10.6 billion in November from £11.2 billion the month before.
Britain’s trade deficit narrowed by more than expected in October after the falling price of oil helped to trigger a drop in the value of imports. The deficit in goods and services narrowed to a seven-month low of £2 billion from £2.8 billion in September and better than City forecasts for £2.4 billion. The improvement in the figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) was largely driven by a fall in the value of oil imports following the recent drop in the price of Brent crude to well below 100 US dollars a barrel.