Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has addressed the Scottish Parliament on the economic impact of COVID-19 in Scotland.

In her statement she warned that as a result of coronavirus, the Scottish economy is facing an immediate collapse in demand.

She outlined the actions being taken by the Scottish Government to support businesses including a package of measures worth £2.2 billion from 1 April:

  • a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
  • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
  • 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
  • First Minister to convene an emergency meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board
  • urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways
  • extending the go live date for the deposit return scheme to July 2022
  • halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:

“These are unprecedented times so it is important that we do all we can to support the economy and the business industry in our communities as much as possible. Depressed economic activity right now is inevitable as we stay home to protect the most vulnerable in society, but this additional funding will go a long way in mitigating the impact this will have on our communities.

“Small businesses are the bread and butter of our communities and here in Paisley we have a great selection of restaurants, pubs, and entertainment venues at our disposal – we need to support them as much as we can to make sure these wonderful establishments are able to return to normal service when COVID-19 is contained.

“Lots of our favourite places are now offering a new or increased takeaway and delivery service, so I know that is something I will be taking advantage of when I can to help these businesses stay afloat.

“Life as we know it is changing to protect the most vulnerable in society, but everybody has a role to play in helping contain this outbreak. However it is important to remember that just because we are anxious and reducing our contact with family, friends and colleagues doesn’t mean we need to lose our sense of community and good old Paisley spirit.”