Of course, the vast majority of business owners understand the best way to protect the economy in the long run is to control the spread of the virus and accelerate the vaccination roll-out. But this doesn’t offset the scale of the immediate challenge.
I HAVE been asked on many occasions to compare the economic costs of Covid with those of Brexit. On one level, there is simply no comparison. During the height of lockdown, economic activity in Scotland fell by a fifth, and did so in record time. Many businesses in retail, hospitality and tourism have seen their entire livelihoods taken from them.
That 2020 has been a year without precedent scarcely needs saying. Should you need further evidence, consider this. The Scottish Government’s budget this financial year is on course to be almost one quarter (£7bn) higher by the end of 2020/21 year than it anticipated when it set out its initial plans in February.
It’s a little over six months since the World Health Organisation declared a global pandemic. The ensuing economic crisis has been severe: the Scottish economy shrunk by nearly a fifth between April and June. Across the UK, there were 156,000 redundancies in the three months to July, the largest increase since the financial crisis.