At least £6 billion in stimulus money will be needed for the Scottish economy to recover from Covid-19, according to a Government adviser.

Benny Higgins, who is chairman of the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, said funding will need to be equal to at least 4% of financial output to be effective.

The group published its latest report for the Scottish Government on Monday with 25 recommendations.

Mr Higgins also said there will need to be urgent renegotiation of the fiscal framework to allow Scotland the powers to borrow more than the £450 million in capital spending currently allowed.

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Addressing the First Minister's daily briefing on coronavirus, Mr Higgins pointed to stimulus funding announced by Germany.

He said: "If Germany needs 4% of its economic output to stimulate the economy, then you'd think that we'd need at least that.

"That's £6 billion and the current limit through the fiscal framework is £450 million so there's a long way to go from where we are to where we need to be."

The report said: "There is a strong case for the Scottish Government to have greater autonomy to use targeted fiscal measures to stimulate demand or incentivise behavioural change in the recovery period."

Mr Higgins said the Scottish Government must be prepared to "have a repayment of debt approach that takes a very long time".

He added: "We've got to adopt that approach but it makes it all the more important that we focus our energy on the systemically important parts of Scotland that will form the basis of a stronger, better Scotland in future."

Among the other recommendations in the report is a programme for those aged between 16 and 25, guaranteeing two years of work paid at the real living wage.

It said the programme could be a partnership between the private sector, local authorities and the Scottish Government, giving those employed access to apprenticeships and training.

The report described the Covid-19 pandemic as "a scar across (young people's) working lives if there is no urgent, ambitious and focused intervention to address it".

Further recommendations include prioritising a green recovery, strengthening the relationship between business and government and investing in digital infrastructure.

Mr Higgins told the briefing: "Our ambition must now be to build a robust, resilient well-being economy, an economy that can demonstrate strong economic growth, create jobs and does so with a focus on the climate emergency and focus in our society.

"One that is ready for the inevitable next crisis, not the last one."

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, said: “The best thing we can do to protect jobs, or support people getting back into work quickly, is invest in training and development. Speed is of the essence – we know the danger of long-term unemployment and the scarring impact it has on individuals and communities.

“Businesses will need to see further detail on proposals like a Scottish Jobs Guarantee to ensure they are practical, transparent and make best use of private sector expertise.”

Professor Graeme Roy at the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde, said: “There are a number of high-level recommendations for the government, most eye-catching around the role for the public sector to take a greater financial interest in private sector companies in the future."

He also said: “Without a focus on practical next steps, the risk is that any report such as this is consigned to the shelf like many other well-meaning strategies, recovery plans and policy reports.

“Finally, whilst it is only right that we look ahead, we cannot lose sight of the urgency of the situation now. All levels of government – from the UK, Scottish and local government – must get right a number of key steps before our economy can even start on the road to recovery – including around testing, the re-start of schools, the coordination of the easing of restrictions with the various emergency jobs and business support schemes, and the restoring of confidence.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the recommendations of the report and committed to respond to the group by the end of July.

She said: "The Scottish Government sees this report as a serious and substantive piece of work and we agree with its basic principles.

"Many of its themes - for example the importance of education, employment and tackling inequalities - are clearly going to be critical to our economic recovery."
The First Minister also described the recommendations as "significant and constructive".

Cineworld has secured £201 million in extra funding from private investors as it gears up to reopen its cinemas next month.

The UK-based chain told investors on Monday that it has agreed terms on the new debt facility, which will mature in 2023.

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It said the deal with unnamed institutional investors "further strengthens the group's balance sheet as cinemas begin to reopen around the world".

The move comes a month after the group secured an extra £90 million in funding after extending a revolving credit facility.

Cineworld announced in May that it plans to reopen all its UK cinemas in July, with Christopher Nolan's new film Tenet expected to be one of its first releases.

The company said: "With the easing of lockdown restrictions in key jurisdictions, Cineworld is excited to welcome customers back to cinemas and enjoy the best place to watch a movie."

The new funding announcement also comes amid the threat of a costly legal battle after pulling out of a £1.6 billion takeover of Canadian chain Cineplex.

Earlier in June, Cineworld said it was terminating the deal after "certain breaches" of the acquisition deal.

The takeover would have created North America's largest chain of movie theatres to better compete with Odeon owner AMC Entertainment.

On Friday, Cineworld is set to file its latest set of quarterly results and reveal the full impact of months of theatre closures.

Last week, a report by rating agency Moody's warned Cineworld and other chains could struggle even after reopening as Britons spend more time at home.

"Attendance will likely remain low at least for a few months due to social-distancing measures or moviegoers' health concerns," Moody's vice-president and senior credit officer Gunjan Dixit said.

A theme park that closed citing financial difficulties amid the coronavirus pandemic is planning to reopen after it was bought out of administration.

M&D's in Strathclyde Country Park went into administration in April, with 165 employees made redundant.

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In a statement on its Facebook page on Monday, the park, announced it has been bought out of administration and has new management in place.

It said that, in line with Scottish Government guidelines, they are working to reopen the theme park, Devil's Island Adventure Golf and Amazonia when restrictions have been lifted.

They said: "We are working within the physical distancing guidelines as outlined by the Scottish Government, as well as introducing additional hand sanitising stations located throughout the park and Amazonia, and look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

"There will be some modifications when you come back to visit us and we'd ask that you bear with us during this period of change and adjustment to allow us to give you the fantastic day out you would usually experience at Scotland's Theme Park."

The park announced in April that Leonard Curtis had been appointed administrators.

In a statement at the time, bosses said it had been a "challenging few years" and they had "worked really hard to try to diversify and keep the business afloat".

The company stated: "Like many leisure businesses, the plans we had for the 2020 season have had to be cancelled due to Covid-19."