GDP figures show epic scale of challenge

New Scottish Government statistics estimate that Scotland’s economy shrunk by almost a quarter since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “There’s no shortage of statistics showing that the lockdown has had a devastating impact on jobs and businesses both in Scotland and across the UK. But these new numbers show the epic scale of the challenge ahead of us.

“Half of the country’s small business community closed their doors during this crisis which led to a big drop in economic output. That’s why many in business desperately want the First Minister to announce on Thursday an accelerated timetable for easing trading restrictions.”

Tomorrow, the First Minister is expected to provide a new timetable for when many businesses can re-open, including many independent shops.

Andrew McRae said: “Independent shops play a vital role in the fabric of our local high streets. And while local food retailers have gone above and beyond to support their communities in this crisis, other shops have had to follow the guidance and keep the shutters down.

“That’s why, as our town centres open up for trade, we want to see locals spend their money with independent firms that offer goods and services you just don’t find elsewhere. As the lockdown eases, we must see decision-makers back our local high streets, giving firms that have faced a torrid year a break at every opportunity.”