07 July
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The report found that the UK economy is in the midst of the most severe economic downturn in modern times with the lockdown and social distancing having curtailed the ability of businesses to operate. They also state that a full return of activity is unlikely until a vaccine or effective treatments are available for COVID-19.

The report also highlights that there are regional vulnerabilities and that areas with high concentration of public sector employment, pharmaceuticals and food manufacturing could better weather the pandemic.


The report looks at all areas in the UK and West Lothian is the least affected area in Scotland in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA). In economics, gross value added (GVA) is the measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy.  GVA is regarded as a very important measure, because it is used to determine gross domestic product (GDP).

Leader of West Lothian Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: "KPMG are a well-respected organisation and have looked at a number of sectors. The report can't be described as being positive overall because we are looking at the most severe economic downturn in modern times, however we are of course satisfied that West Lothian is in a positive position in comparison to all other areas in Scotland."

He added: "There are regular reports highlighted in the media and separate think tanks and organisations predict different things. There have certainly been some other reports that we believe are not accurate and we don't recognise the data that they are using that allows them to draw a conclusion.

"The fact is until robust data is available in the future nobody knows to what extent the pandemic will have on the economy, local or national. However there are undoubtedly significant challenges ahead. No area in the UK is expected to emerge economically from this pandemic unscathed.

"The council and our partners will do all that it can to help those individuals affected find alternative employment. We will also focus our efforts on creating an environment that is open to business and that ensures practical support is available to employers operating in West Lothian or looking to locate to West Lothian.

"This is our focus and it will remain so. West Lothian is well placed to tackle the expected downturn in the national and local economy.  Now is the time for clear heads, a positive outlook and a time for working together with partner sand the business community to create an environment that encourages investment and growth.

"In the coming weeks, the West Lothian Jobs Task Force will publish an Action Plan to ensure that as much support as possible is put in place to assist local companies and workers and address a large number of key issues moving forward in supporting the recovery period."

He added:  Executive councillor for development and transport Cathy Muldoon said: "I think it is important to focus on the balanced information that we have, and feedback from our own business community. That, I'm pleased to say, highlights a relatively positive outlook for West Lothian despite the situation we all find ourselves in. Certainly KPMG, who are well respected globally, have looked at a large number of areas and sectors and the news that West Lothian is the least affected council area in Scotland is obviously one that we would welcome.

"I believe it is important to keep an open mind and be positive in terms of our overall outlook. West Lothian is and remains a positive destination for employers. In fact, we are aware of several large businesses that are in the process of growing their operations in West Lothian and expanding. West Lothian has strong life science and technology sectors which are both national growth areas

There is positive news out there and reason to remain hopeful moving forward."

  • The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in West Lothian has increased to 6,665 in May. The number represents an increase of 0.9% on the previous month.  West Lothian's position (5.7%) is, however, lower than the Scottish rate (6.2 %) and the British rate (6.5%).