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New Scottish economic recovery group to be established


By Scott Maclennan

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Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

The Scottish Government is to start post-Covid-19 economic planning next week with the establishment of a special group made up of business leaders and experts to chart the “best possible way forward.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon used her latest daily briefing to outline some of her government’s plans for combatting the economic impact of the virus now and in the future.

She said the effective collapse of the market for seafood meant that coastal and island communities were placed under enormous strain and to alleviate this vessels over 12 metres would now be able access support.

Regarding small business support, the First Minister said that the expansion of the existing scheme means that £1.3 billion would now be available, with 18,000 businesses having already drawn down £215 million so far.

She said: “On Wednesday the finance secretary announced an expansion of our business support scheme. It means that in total, alongside other forms of assistance, we are now making £1.3 billion available in grants and support to businesses today.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the market for fish and shellfish has effectively collapsed and that is having a very serious and immediate impact on many of our coastal and island communities.

“I can confirm that from that total package of support more than 18,000 of these grants have already been awarded, that means a total of £215 million has been paid out so far. We’ll continue to work with local authorities to ensure that businesses can access the rest of that support as quickly as possible.

“The second update is the support for our seafood sector. It is becoming increasingly clear that the market for fish and shellfish has effectively collapsed and that is having a very serious and immediate impact on many of our coastal and island communities.

“The government is already providing a range of support for the seafood, aquaculture and fishing industries and that includes helping businesses with smaller vessels, but today I can announce we are allocating further support for fishing vessels over 12 metres.

“That means in total more than 1000 businesses will now be eligible for support and it brings our overall package of support for the seafood fishing and aquaculture sectors to nearly £23 million."

Speaking about the broader economic recovery she said: “None of us should be under any illusions about the scale of the task. This is an unprecedented situation.

"You've heard me and others say that many times before and, as I’ve said already, no government anywhere has all of the immediate answers, but we do want to start the work now to make sure that we are able to navigate the best possible way forward.

“That's why we're announcing today the establishment of an economic recovery advisory group.

"This group will bring together business leaders and economic experts and we’ll set out more details over the next week, but I do believe its establishment will be an important step in preparing Scotland for some of the challenges that lie ahead.”

Related: Welcome for extension of measures to small businesses

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