Nicola Sturgeon nightmare: Scottish economy could be ‘worst in developed world’

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It comes after Scotland’s GDP plunged by 18.9 percent during April, the first full month of lockdown. Andrew Wilson, who helped draw up the SNP’s Growth Commission, the party’s independence blueprint, spoke as government figures revealed 127,000 Scots were out of work.

He said the UK economy as a whole was set to become “the worst-performing economy in the developed world”, with the Scottish sector suffering even more.

Mr Wilson, a former MSP, said: “I think this is a long haul back, not a V-shaped bounceback at all.

“Without those restrictions on social distancing being lifted, in due course businesses will fail on a grand scale.

“What’s clear to me is the UK is set to be the worst-performing economy in the developed world and Scotland’s probably going to be a bit worse because of the nature of our sectors and how the virus has behaved north and south of the Border.

“The prospects are that we need a monumental effort – politicians and governments working in collaboration – to get the measures we need to rescue businesses.

“Because the outlook for people, for families, is bleak.”

The economic figures also revealed GDP fell by more than 23 per cent since February whilst the accommodation and food sector was also hit with an 85 percent fall.

The arts, culture and recreation sector was also hit with a 51 percent fall whilst in manufacturing the drop was 25 percent since February.

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Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said there needs to be a “transformational response from the Scottish Government that puts the well-being of the people of Scotland at the heart of the post-pandemic economy”.

The MSP warned: “We are now deep into uncharted economic waters with the prospect of mass unemployment looming.

“If action is not taken by both the UK and Scottish Governments, with a clear plan to get the economy back on course, then we may be left with an economy in tatters.”

Following the report, ministers have pledged more than £2.3 billion to help businesses across the country.

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Scottish Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP, said: “Yesterday, we announced a £230 million return to work package to help stimulate Scotland’s economy following the pandemic.

“This initiative, covering construction, low carbon initiatives, digitisation and business support, will help to create jobs and generate a flow of work for businesses.”

She said it was now “essential” the Scottish Government is given more powers so it can “properly manage the response to the crisis as we move towards recovery”.

Ms Hyslop said since the start of the coronavirus crisis “the Scottish Government has been working tirelessly to keep businesses afloat and ensure as many people as possible keep their jobs, and we will continue to do that”.

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