Figures released by Tortoise show that Scotland’s high reliance on tourism and hospitality led to significant reductions across the country. The highest was seen in Highland areas such as Oban with a shocking 68 percent reduction in business sales with similar figures in the ski resort of Aviemore at 58 percent.
The figures, which record debit card and direct debit transactions and are compared with the same period last year, also revealed that Glasgow and Edinburgh suffered losses of 45 and 44 percent.
Scottish Finance Security Kate Forbes MSP has begged Boris Johnson to give Holyrood extra tax powers in light of the economic chaos caused by the pandemic, amid fears they could face financial uncertainty.
The calls and data emerge as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced on Friday that UK GDP fell by 20.4 percent in April, the highest drop on record.
Ms Forbes said she would like to see firms that are benefiting from the pandemic using some of their extra revenue to help the recovery in Scotland.
Edinburgh currently receives a fixed budget from Westminster every year under the Scotland Act.
But speaking at Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution Committee on Friday, the Finance Security added that she would have “one hand tied behind my back” as the economy emerges from the pandemic.
She added: “Because this is a fixed budget, because – by law – I cannot overspend, if this year requires extraordinary spending in order to save lives and save the economy, then I will be hamstrung or at least I’ll be doing it with one hand tied behind my back.
“Whereas the UK Government is able to borrow more to meet the needs, we cannot and therefore if there’s a pressing need in one part of the budget it will need to be taken from elsewhere.
He said: “The SNP government likes to think it has talked a very good game on this.
“But the fact is, mistakes were made right from the start, and they continue to this day.
“The initial response from the SNP wasn’t good enough, and nor is the current action we’re seeing now.”
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said the record decline “confirms the scale of the economic crisis that has inevitably been caused by the health crisis we face”.
The First Minister added: “I have previously welcomed the UK Government’s interventions, especially the furlough scheme which has helped to preserve jobs during this period.
“But in my view, it is now time to signal a further extension of Treasury support.
“The alternative to extended support being put in place is either that businesses are forced to reopen before it is safe to do so, and that, of course, could damage health and it could cost lives, or businesses will have to take an even bigger hit and that will cost jobs.”
Published at Sat, 13 Jun 2020 23:01:00 +0000