The SNP has renewed calls on the UK government to urgently introduce strengthened financial support to stimulate the economy and to protect businesses and jobs – after new research revealed that the “Scottish economy is now in its deepest recession in living memory” due to the coronavirus crisis.
The Fraser of Allander Institute found that Scotland had suffered a near 20% drop in economic activity in April, and that in its worst-case scenario it could take until 2024 before the economy recovers to a “new normal.”
The economic commentary also highlighted concerns that if the Treasury pushed ahead with plans to wind down income support schemes then it could lead to a “raft of redundancies and business closures.”
Commenting, SNP Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP (pictured) said:
“The new research by the Fraser of Allander Institute makes for dire reading, and must be a wake-up call for the UK government that if it does not urgently take steps to introduce a major financial recovery package, and devolve financial powers to Holyrood, then it risks inflicting lasting economic harm that many businesses and industries simply will not be able to recover from.
“It’s clear that Treasury plans to wind down income support schemes could lead to businesses pulling down their shutters for good and thousands of jobs being lost – that would deliver a severe body blow to Scotland’s economy.
“It is absolutely critical that if we are to stimulate the economy and secure a strong recovery, then the Chancellor must rule out plans for cuts to public spending and rule out restricting financial support for businesses and workers.
“The Scottish Government is tackling the economic crisis caused by the pandemic with one hand tied behind its back – with current rules preventing borrowing to spend money where it’s desperately needed.
“The SNP will continue to pressure the UK government to deliver vital financial support and more powers for the Scottish Parliament.
“However, it’s clear that despite this analysis painting such a bleak economic picture, the Tories are seeking to inflict deep cuts to public services – underlining why Scotland needs the full powers it would have as an independent country.”