A report on the UK economic outlook predicts West Lothian will be the least negatively affected local authority area in Scotland as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
The report by KPMG 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 a 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 GVA is the measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy. It’s regarded as a very important measure because it is used to determine gross domestic product (GDP).
West Lothian Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: “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 satisfied that West Lothian is in a positive position in comparison to all other areas in Scotland.
“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.
“The council and our partners will do all that it can to help those individuals affected find alternative employment. 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.”
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.”