PwC responds to Scottish Government economic update
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s economic update this afternoon, Stewart Wilson, head of Government and Public Sector, PwC Scotland, said:
“The impact of COVID-19 on the Scottish economy is something we couldn’t have imagined just a few months ago, but the measures announced today, in addition to those taken by the Chancellor, show the willingness of governments to reboot the economy.
“The VAT cut announced on Wednesday by the Chancellor, in addition to the Jobs Retention Bonus, will be a big boost for Scottish businesses as it applies across the UK. In a country where tourism represents 5% of GDP and 8.5% of employment, it is crucial that businesses are supported as much as possible to help them emerge from this crisis.
“But while the government actions will help encourage spending, consumer confidence is another challenge and businesses in retail and hospitality will have to work to reassure their customers.
“Protecting jobs in the short term is critical, but throughout the recovery there must also be a strategy for continuing to upskill our workforce, particularly as we are still learning what workplaces will look like post-Covid 19. It is welcome to see the Scottish Government make £100m available for targeted employment support and training, though this will likely have to increase in due course.
“The increase in starting threshold for Land and Building Transactions Tax from £145,000 to £250,000 will help invigorate the housing market but falls short of the measures introduced in England. However, the Scottish Government’s focus on helping first-time buyers with an additional £50m being committed to the First Home Fund should also ensure the lower end of the housing market remains buoyant.
“We look forward to playing our part in helping businesses in Scotland recover and join Kate Forbes in wishing them a quick return to prosperity and growth.”