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Economic Impact of Covid-19 on the Highlands laid bare in HIE Report

By Tom Ramage

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Highlands Scottish Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has said the Scottish and U.K. Government’s must now “sit up and pay attention” to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the region.

She is calling for an economic “shot in the arm” to support local jobs and businesses following the publication of a report from Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

MSP Rhoda Grant at Holyrood
MSP Rhoda Grant at Holyrood

The report “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Highlands and Islands” warns that the economy here could decrease by as much as £2.6bn this year due to the impact of Covid-19 on businesses and jobs.

And the figures presented in the document also suggest that unemployment increased faster in the region than the rest of Scotland.

Commenting on the report Mrs Grant said: “It makes grim reading and should make both the Scottish and U.K. Government’s sit up and pay attention to the serious impact that Covid-19 has and is having on the Highlands and Islands, one of the worst hit areas in the country economically.

“With increased and rapidly growing unemployment due to the nature of the region’s economy which relies heavily on tourism and outdoor recreation, it’s clear that the economy of the Highlands and Islands will need a shot in the arm if we are to turn around the worrying trend of job losses and economic downturn."

The Scottish and U.K. Government’s now had to work together to invest in the region to protect its jobs, livelihoods and businesses prosperity, she urged.

"If we want to see the region survive and thrive after Covid-19, we need to ensure the right support is in place to allow us to build back better and support an economy that works for everyone."

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