IT was the week we learned that 20,000 Scottish businesses have closed this year, reversing a decades long trend of growth.

The economic impact may be looking slightly less overwhelming at this stage following new labour market statistics, which could remove a key excuse for more Government cost-cutting, but many are still paying a hefty price for pandemic problems made worse by Brexit.

The company closure figures came as no surprise to those on the frontline, but Downing Street’s rose-tinted accounts of how the United Kingdom is faring have not helped businesses who at the same have warned of being on the precipice.

The alarm was raised on the collapse of the supply chain months ago.
The UK Government has either rejected outright that anything is wrong despite the evidence or brushed it off as a temporary issue.

It is not looking like a temporary issue for Weir & McQuiston, the Wishaw mechanical and electrical contracting specialist, founded in 1976, which fell into administration this week, with the impact of lockdown as well as labour and materials cited.

HeraldScotland:

The Scottish Government Business in Scotland report brought a 5.4% drop from the previous year, against the last 20 years has seen an increase of almost 45% in the number of firms.

The loss of 19,805 Scottish businesses is part of an overall reduction of 390,000 firms across the UK.

As business continues to suffer from severe labour and supply chain breakdowns, one of the purveyors of finest Tory propaganda popped up on breakfast television to defend the sleaze row with a bizarre snow job.

HeraldScotland: The Deputy Prime Minister heaped praise on Brexit as firms go bustThe Deputy Prime Minister heaped praise on Brexit as firms go bust

Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, was on the BBC to placate over Mr Johnson’s self-confessed lobbying policy car crash and with a straight face declared the PM has “successfully dealt with getting us through Brexit, he clearly won an unprecedented majority, he has led the way with the vaccine … which has been a huge success in Europe but also globally”. Next the HS2 scale-back was said to be good for the north of England.

However, there will be a reality check for believers in the Tory economic fairytale, business editor Ian McConnell writes in his Called to Account column this week.

“Brexit has made the economy even more of a hot political topic as the Tories have tried to claim this mammoth folly is somehow a good idea and keep on side the Leave camp which swept Boris Johnson to victory in the December 2019 General Election.”

As the Scottish Budget comes into focus on the horizon, Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes faces a decision on whether to maintain the business rates exemption, writes deputy business editor Scott Wright in his Thursday column this week.

The oil giant at the centre of the Cambo controversy, Shell, announced a name change and appointed a Scot as chairman, writes business correspondent Mark Williamson, who adds that the firm, minus the “Royal Dutch” has provided an apparent vote of confidence in the UK as it unveiled plans for the historic changes.

Meanwhile, a toast, shaken not stirred, is raised as 007 drives UK movie audiences back into the arms of Cineworld.

Business correspondent Kristy Dorsey writes that UK revenues at Cineworld have rebounded beyond pre-pandemic levels as James Bond led the way in luring customers back to the big screen.