Caution is critical to a safe economic recovery says local MSP Gillian Martin

Gillian Martin MSP asked the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, to ensure that Scotland’s economic recovery is not jeopardised by a hasty rush out of the lockdown imposed to suppress covid-19

Following a report released today by the Fraser of Allander Institute, Gillian Martin MSP asked the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, to ensure that Scotland’s economic recovery is not jeopardised by a hasty rush out of the lockdown imposed to suppress covid-19.

The think tank has warned that a second wave of covid-19, and the measures needed to suppress it, would drastically impact the recovery of the economy in Scotland.

The North East economy is currently faced with the challenging conditions of a low oil price, the potential of no trade deal being agreed by the UK Government with the EU and the continuing covid-19 pandemic.

The Economic Commentary published today warns that

Should there be a second-wave and re-introduction of more stringent restrictions, the hit to the economy will be all the greater. Here, the hit to livelihoods could be greater than we have seen in a generation. We estimate that this could mean the economy does not get back to pre-crisis levels until mid-2024. Fraser of Allander Institute - Economic Commentary

This led Gillian Martin – MSP for Aberdeenshire East – asked Nicola Sturgeon in First Ministers Questions to continue with the cautious approach the Scottish Government is taking to withdraw from the lockdown.

Gillian Martin MSP asked

The Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary published today states that if there were to be a second wave of infection of covid-19 then the economy may not recover until 2024 at the earliest.

The First Minister has outlined what our Government is doing to ensure the virus is kept at the lowest possible level, but does the First Minister agree with me that a slower, more cautious, approach now is ultimately the most effective economic approach and that far more jobs and businesses are in danger if we risk a second wave by easing restrictions too fast?

The First Minister responded

We should pay close attention to the warning in the Fraser of Allander Institute report today that if we have a second wave, spike, (whatever we want to call it) of this virus and we don’t manage to keep it under control then our economy might not recover until 2024.

And what that does is demonstrate the economic impact of moving too quickly and at too high a risk; as well as what we know would be the inevitable health impact and the impact on the number of lives lost as well.

I firmly believe – and I think it is backed up by evidence – that if we move at an appropriate pace now then we build a firmer foundation for recovery and we minimise – because you can’t eradicate it – we minimise the chance of having to go backwards into lockdown.

If we go too quickly now, if we take too high a risk, the danger is we end up in lockdown for longer. So, we have to get this right, and that fundamentally is in the interest of health and life but it is also in the interest of livelihoods and the economy as well.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said

I was heartened by the First Minister’s response. We in the North East face a triple threat of a low oil price, a potential Tory No-Deal Brexit and the covid-19 pandemic.

We can ill afford a second wave of this virus – not only because of the awful loss of life it would cause, but because our economy – and the livelihoods that depend on it – would be placed in significant peril.

It is incumbent on us as individuals and communities to continue to adhere to Scottish Government guidelines, wash our hands, wear face coverings in enclosed spaces, and behave responsibly to do as much as we can to ensure we don’t have to go backwards along the route out of lockdown.

Do you think that the Scottish Government is right in its approach to reducing the lockdown, or should they be moving quicker like England? Let us know your thoughts on our My Turriff Politics page on Facebook.

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