chapter  10
17 Pages

Edinburgh

WithGreg Lloyd, Stuart Black

Scotland remains a peripheral regional economy within the UK context. It has a unique political and cultural experience (McCrone, 1992), and its present economic structure and economic problems reflect its industrial and urban history (Randall, 1987). The principal characteristics of the economy have included a continuing dependence on heavy manufacturing industries (with weak growth prospects) and relatively low internally generated economic growth (Danson, Lloyd and Newlands, 1992). Furthermore, Scotland’s location creates cost disadvantages in terms of its industrial competitiveness and ability to attract inward investment. There are, in addition, relatively marked differences within the Scottish economy. The declining industrial-urban areas of the central belt and the remoter rural economies of the Highlands and Islands represent problem areas, while the oil-dependent economy of the north-east of Scotland and the concentration of high technology activity in the eastern central belt represent areas of economic potential (Ashcroft, 1983). Within this broad context, Edinburgh has played a key role. The city was established as a Royal Burgh in the twelfth century, enabling it to operate as a centre for commerce and trade. Between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries, the city became the leading and largest administrative and commercial urban centre in Scotland. Its growth and development was supported by its hinterland which was rich in resources including agricultural land, coal and oil shale (Adams, 1978). Edinburgh assumed primacy in the economic life and administration of Scotland becoming a national capital and a regional city (Gordon, 1986).