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Stranraer Cairnryan and Portpatrick


The population of Dumfries and Galloway is around 147,000. It is almost unchanged since the 1991 Census and is forecast to remain at about that level until 2001. A period of small population decline is forecast to 2008.


Dumfries and Galloway contributed 1,413 million to a total Scottish GDP of 52,518 million in 1995 - 2.7% of the total. The region achieved a net increase in its share of Scottish and UK GDP in the period 1991-93, although the share drifted back slightly by 1995.


The number of people in employment in Dumfries and Galloway increased to 53,950 in 1995.The official statistics show a net increase in employment of 10.6% in the region between 1987 and 1995, compared with an increase of 6.3% for Scotland.

Between 1993 and 1995, female employment increased dramatically - by 16% - and overtook male employment for the first time.


Dumfries and Galloway has a distinctive employment structure. Compared with Scotland and Great Britain the area has:

  • an exceptionally high level of agricultural employment
  • an average level of industrial employment
  • a low level of private sector service employment
  • an average level of public sector employment.

The Census of Employment understates agricultural employment. The 1995 Agricultural Census identified an agricultural labour force of 7,600.

Service sector jobs have accounted for all net growth in Scottish and UK employment since the 1970s. The sector has grown more slowly in Dumfries and Galloway, and there was actually a fall in the period 1993-95.

Manufacturing employment increased between 1993 and 1995, reversing a long downward trend. In the same period, employment in traditional industries declined sharply, but there was strong growth in timber, rubber, plastics and paper.

Self-employment continues to be an important source of work in Dumfries and Galloway. The 1991 Census identified 10,200 self-employed people, of whom 4,500 employed others, This is roughly equivalent to 20% of the total employees in employment; twice the Scottish average.

Company base

The stock of VAT registered businesses has grown - but much more slowly in Dumfries and Galloway than in Scotland and the UK. Even when agricultural businesses are excluded, there is a significant gap. The conversion rate of self-employed individuals into new businesses is relatively low.

However, the business density in the region is still high. In 1995 there were 369 VAT registered businesses per 10,000 population in Dumfries and Galloway - 35% above the UK average. When agricultural businesses are excluded, the business density in Dumfries and Galloway is around the national average.


Rubber and plastics, food and drink, and textiles dominate manufactured exports. These sectors account for 90% of the region's exports by value. 44% of exports are from small to medium size enterprises compared with an average of 14% for Scotland.

Value of manufactured exports 1995
Value (m) %
Rubber and plastics 70.1 43
Food and drink 56.0 34
Textiles 18.8 11
Fabricated metal products 7.3 4
Vehicles and trailers 2.9 2
Leather 2.6 2
Apparel 2.0 1
Other 4.8 3
Total 164.5 100
Source: Scottish Council Development and Industry

Labour Force

At the 1991 Census, the Dumfries and Galloway labour force had a below average proportion of:

  • professionals
  • technicians
  • clerical occupations

but the region had an above average proportion of:

  • craftspersons
  • plant operatives
  • other occupations

Dumfries and Galloway had a higher percentage of people educated to diploma or degree level than the Scottish average.

[Picture]    The number of school pupils staying on to S5 is now around the Scottish average. Performance at Standard and Higher Grade is well above the Scottish average.

The proportion of school leavers progressing to further and higher education is well above the Scottish average, but the proportion going into employment is lower.

School performance 1995-1997
  % staying
on to S5
% S4 gaining 5+ Standard Grades
at 1-4
% S5 gaining 3+ Highers at A-C
1995 1996 1997 1995 1996 1997 1995 1996 1997
D&G 63 60 64 78 78 79 24 26 24
Scotland 65 64 64 70 72 73 20 20 19
Source: Scottish Office


The level of unemployment in the region has broadly followed the economic cycle, but the headline rate is now above the UK and Scottish average.


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