Green recovery hope

Recovery in sight as Scotland gets back to work

wind farm

MSPs must focus on the green recovery

Our State of the Nation briefings have often painted a depressing picture over the past 12 months or so as the economic impacts of the pandemic hit Scotland hard.

Official data now confirms that the Scottish economy was nearly 10% smaller by the end of 2020 than it was at the start of last year.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccine rollout gathers pace and restrictions ease across the country, particularly on key sectors for jobs and growth like retail and tourism & hospitality.

New forecasts from KPMG suggest that Scotland’s GDP could return to pre-pandemic levels by early 2022, significantly sooner than widely anticipated.

Scottish business confidence surged by 15% in May, according to the Bank of Scotland’s Business Barometer. UK consumer spending has not surged as fast as it did in May in over 25 years, suggesting that some pent-up demand and accumulated savings will be splurged this summer.

However, the much discussed ‘K-shaped recovery’ in which some sectors, communities and demographics recover strongly, and others struggle, is already clear.

While overall unemployment in Scotland remains historically low at just over 4% – partly thanks to furlough paying workers’ wages for a remarkable 2 billion working days so far – youth unemployment has risen to 13%.

As a newly-elected Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government get down to work, the pre-eminent task ahead – the need to deliver for a green recovery for all, including and especially for children and young people, for which we have made the case at SCDI – could also not be clearer.

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