SCOTLAND’S Wellbeing Economy Secretary has given his three key takeaways from the publication of the annual GERS figures.

The Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) data was published on Wednesday morning, and Neil Gray fielded questions from journalists at a briefing at Glasgow University afterwards.

Much of the conversation focused on oil and gas after GERS showed that record high receipts of £9.4 billion had flowed from the sector in 2022-2023, but Gray also gave his assessment of the figures.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes calls out 'mistruths' from pro-UK think tank boss in GERS row

The SNP Cabinet Secretary said: “The main three takeaways that I have from GERS today is that revenue is up and is up faster than the rest of the UK, notional deficit is down and is down faster than the rest of the UK, and revenue per head of population is higher than the rest of the UK.”

Scotland’s total revenue increased by 20.7% (or £15bn), compared with an 11.3% rise for the UK as a whole. This included a £1.9bn increase from Scottish income tax revenue.

Scotland’s notional deficit fell from around £24.8bn to £19.1bn year-on-year, while the UK as a whole flatlined.

And overall Scottish revenue was £15,967 per person, some £696 higher than the UK-wide figure of £15,271.

The National:

Gray (above) went on: “So, from a fundamentalist perspective the Scottish economy is moving in the right direction. I’ve referenced the fact that 41% of spending and 64% of revenue is reserved, so our ability to control our economic direction is not our own, but we are responding in the best way that we possibly can.

“We would encourage the UK Government in the areas of great concern for us, immigration and investment in renewables, to go faster.”

Specifically, Gray – who is also Scotland’s Energy Secretary – said the UK Government needed to “step up” and provide “full clarity on carbon capture and storage [and] a marketisation plan for pumped-hydro storage”.

The Acorn carbon capture project, based at the St Fergus gas terminal near Peterhead, is to be used to store around 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year in depleted North Sea gas fields after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced it would receive UK Government funding in July.

READ MORE: Fears Tory inaction will see Scottish renewables investment 'evaporate'

The Tory government sparked fury from the industry in Scotland after it snubbed the project in an initial round of funding in 2021, instead opting to fund two English sites on the Humber and around Liverpool.

On pumped-storage hydro, the industry and Scottish Government have both called on the Tories to bring forward a marketisation plan to allow six “shovel-ready” projects in Scotland to go ahead, but no commitment has been forthcoming as yet.

Experts at the Institute for Fiscal Studies said GERS showed the deficit in Scotland “remained substantially higher than that of the UK as whole – 9.0% of GDP compared to 5.2%”.

Associate director David Phillips said: “In contrast to the situation for the UK as a whole, the surge in oil – and especially gas – prices last year led to an improvement in Scotland’s fiscal position … The gap is set to widen again from next year if oil and gas prices fall back as forecast.”