Scotland business

  1. More support for businesses needed, says Richard Leonard

    Richard Leonard

    Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard tells BBC One Scotland that the current situation with the virus in Scotland is "very fast moving".

    He highlights that in a briefing before Christmas, 17 cases of the new strain had been identified in Scotland - a number which has now risen into the "thousands".

    "It shows the scale of the change and the size of the challenge," Mr Leonard says.

    He highlights how working parents are in a very difficult position with the closure of schools until at least February.

    The chancellor's announcement today of increased support for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure appears on the face of it "to be an insufficient response to the loss of income businesses have sustained", he says,

    "We think there needs to be more support," Mr Leonard adds.

  2. New lockdown 'a severe blow to much of Scottish economy'

    Douglas Fraser

    Scotland business & economy editor

    Quote Message: The return of lockdown for at least the rest of January is a severe blow for much of the Scottish economy. It could be worse: this is not the peak Christmas season for retail and hospitality, though the season they’ve just had was very hard going for many, and non-existent for others. This is also the quietest part of the tourism year, so January is a relatively good month to lose one’s bookings. For many firms, it is better than last spring, because they have infection controls in place. And there is a less harsh closure scheme, meaning construction sites and others can stay open, subject to tight rules. Many employers have settled into patterns of working from home, so this does not carry the shock of last March. There was little expectation of getting staff back into offices for months yet. But that doesn’t make this time any easier for workers who are also parents. They know, from last year, how tough it is to handle childcare and lessons while schools are shut - and this time, they have to manage without good weather. The other, more negative comparison with last spring is that firms now are, typically, deeper in debt and with less spare cash to pay the bills that don’t stop - rent, and utility bills, for instance. Some delayed payments are getting tougher to keep on hold. Their frustration with the slow movement of government grant schemes is showing. They aren’t disputing the case for further lockdown but they are making their own case for support through it, and for a recovery strategy once restrictions are lifted, including a boost to consumer confidence and spending." from Douglas Fraser Scotland business & economy editor
    Douglas FraserScotland business & economy editor