The coronavirus lockdown could see the overall scale of economic activity across Scotland shrink by as much as 25 per cent.
Economists at Strathclyde University have produced a report that outlines expectations of what the consequences of a continued lockdown might be for different industries in the coming weeks and months.
The headline estimate of the report is that Scotland’s GDP will contract by between 20 per cent and 25 per cent if the current lockdown restrictions remain in place for a period of three months.
However, it’s expected that a sharp rebound in various parts of the economy will be possible and likely once the lockdown comes to an end.
Unfortunately, no one yet knows when restrictions on gatherings and non-essential activities will be lifted so Scotland, like so many other countries, looks set to suffer a drastic downturn in GDP in the near term.
Some sectors will be particularly badly hit, with the Strathclyde academics predicting that the construction side of the Scottish economy will shrink by between 40 per cent and 50 per cent, if lockdown restrictions remain in place for three months.
Meanwhile, the services sector, which accounts for a very large proportion of economic activity in Scotland and across the UK, could soon be reporting a 15 per cent to 20 per cent downturn.
“The scale of this shut down and therefore the impact are completely unprecedented,” the Strathclyde University report says.
“Of course, many of these effects will be temporary. Once restrictions are gradually lifted, then we should see some of these sectors bouncing back. To what extent, we don’t yet know.”
Donald Cameron, an SMP from the Conservative Party, said the figures predicting the potential impact of coronavirus on Scotland’s economy underlines just how important it is for the government to “get its economic support package absolutely right”.
“A contraction of this magnitude would be brutal for jobs, growth and prosperity,” he said, adding, however, that “everyone understands the public health need for lockdown at the moment”.
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