THE final Brexit seems now to be almost upon us, with little cheer of any kind as stumbling blocks remain on the narrow, but still possibly conceivably successful, path to a trade agreement.

This seven days in business has been stretched across one Sunday deadline to another with opinion swaying only within confined parameters as the United Kingdom and European Union were still biting over the familiar bones of governance, fishing and level playing field.

The hope for most would be that Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, glibly recounting how he is making a resolution to stay away from percentages but will make an exception to offer a “less than 50 per cent” chance of a deal being struck, was just posturing.

Embarrassing and unhelpful brinkmanship is not unknown on these shores.

In his Called to Account column this week, Ian McConnell, The Herald business editor, said: “Brexiter propaganda is, sadly, something we have had to get used to since the 2016 Leave vote.

“However, it has become more challenging to deal with this nonsense as it has increased in volume and intensity, while getting further and further removed from economic reality.”

He cites Danny Blanchflower, the former Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member who has recently joined the University of Glasgow, as having laid bare the damage Brexit will do, against the backdrop of last year’s UK exports to the EU, of goods and services totalling £294 billion – 43% of all UK exports.

Coronavirus fall-out has hit every sector of commerce, although some more than others. Just how deeply it has seared into the fabric of Scottish hospitality – renowned the world over and one of the highlights for visitors as much as the scenery – is becoming clear.

When James Thomson seeks to safeguard the future of Prestonfield House Hotel and The Witchery, on the Royal Mile, by securing a £2.5m loan from his bank it gives some sense of localised scale.

It was welcome then when Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, further extended loan schemes until the end of March and furlough for 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked to April.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which were due to end in January, have helped keep the economy on life support.

The figures are that £46.4bn of furlough payments had been claimed for 9.9m jobs in 1.2m firms since April, and £43.5bn in bounce back loans, £19.6bn under CBILS and £5bn under CLBILS.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Likewise Scottish Government must pull out all the stops to compensate businesses where they are forced to stop trading or the supply chain is critically impacted.”

There was positivity elsewhere though as energy giant Drax said that its hydro assets including the spectacular Cruachan pumped storage plant in the Argyll hills and two hydroelectric facilities in south west Scotland are “absolutely central to the company’s carbon negative ambition,” wrote Mark Williamson, business correspondent.

A glass was also raised for Scotland’s first alcohol-free dark ale, called Wheesht, launched by Harviestoun Brewery in Alva. Cin cin, I suppose.