Recovery Board chair responds to high level of workers furloughed in Highland
Statistics released by HMRC show that the Highland has the highest number of workers on furlough per head of population across Scotland. 32,000 people, 27% of the working population are currently furloughed in the Highlands.
Reflecting on the figure, Depute Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Alasdair Christie who chairs the Council’s Recovery Board said: “The chair of the Scottish government's growth commission says Scotland is more exposed to the impact of the Covid crisis and the figure for furloughed workers here, demonstrates the additional vulnerability of the Highlands.
“We have an economy that is very heavily reliant on tourism and the hospitality trade as well as public sector jobs. The figures don’t take into account difference in demographic make-up such as the number of retired people or economically inactive people in each area, so the true picture in Highland is likely to be even more stark.
“We have always been clear that in Highland we face unique challenges, such as a very dispersed and ageing population, high levels of deprivation, many fragile rural communities, as well as infrastructure and public transport issues and unreliable broadband coverage in many areas.
“The pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of our economy being so reliant on tourism, hospitality and public sector jobs. I know anyone who finds themselves currently furloughed must be feeling apprehensive about the future. At the first meeting of our Recovery Board we discussed at length the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and the need for a Highland wide approach to economic recovery. To do this we are committed to work in partnership with other agencies, local businesses and our communities. We will also continue to press for additional funding that takes into account our unique challenges.”