Hurricane causes £100m blow to economy


The single day of hurricane-force winds that battered Scotland could cost the country's economy around £100 million, business experts have warned.

Early closures, blocked roads, power outages and employees staying at home caused a drop in both revenue and productivity.

Analysts from professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said the lost revenue caused by winter weather could push already struggling businesses over the edge.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of properties are still without electricity, with the possibility that some homes could have no power until Sunday.

Scottish Hydro said 70,000 customers were cut off this morning, down from 105,000 last night, while Scottish Power had 2,000 customers "off-grid".

There were 400 separate incidents disrupting the electricity network in the north of Scotland, including the western and northern islands, equivalent to two months' work in just one day, Scottish Hydro said.

PwC said pub, restaurant and hotel owners, retailers and hauliers were particularly hard-hit by yesterday's storms.

The £100 million figure is based on previous research which suggests that, for every day the UK grinds to a halt, the economic loss is £1 billion a day, the equivalent of around £100 million in Scotland.

PwC's head of private business in Scotland, Caroline Roxburgh, said: "In the past, harsh winters tended to impact on manufacturers but were compensated for elsewhere in the economy. Historic data also suggests that even in extreme weather, much of the productivity lost is actually made up fairly soon after.

"For some Scottish businesses however, the losses they experience will be permanent. If someone has cancelled a restaurant booking or not gone to the theatre or the cinema then that money will be lost.

"Retailers who are already facing arguably the toughest trading conditions in recent history will be particularly badly hit, as Christmas shoppers stay at home at the most profitable time of the year for them.

"Preparation is of course everything and it is important that businesses act now to ensure they can continue to deliver their most critical services.

"While some businesses may be robust enough financially to take the hit, others may well be teetering on the edge and, for them, a winter like last year may well push them over the edge."

The Association of British Insurers said it was too early to estimate the cost of damage from the storms.

Across Scotland work is being carried out to get the country back to normal.

Scottish Hydro said its engineers are using helicopters to get to some areas still cut off by blocked roads.

Some homes could stay without electricity until Sunday, the company admitted, but it said it hoped most people would have their power restored by tonight.

But while the winds have been easing off in most of the country, the north-east and the Shetland Islands were still suffering.

The Met Office is also warning of snow, blizzards and ice on the roads across Orkney, Shetland, the Highlands and Grampian.

Northern Constabulary said conditions have improved in the Western Isles and the Highlands but many roads are still blocked by fallen trees and surface water.

Severe weather in Orkney has caused widespread damage and flooding. The B9047 South Walls road on Hoy island is closed at the causeway and several areas are without power.

All schools in Orkney, Caithness and the north coast of Sutherland in the Highlands are shut.

Fourteen schools are closed in Aberdeenshire and some schools in Angus, Argyll and Bute, Shetland, Stirling and the Western Isles have power failures.

Aberdeenshire Council said its services have been badly disrupted by the weather. The area also has problems with telephone networks and internet connections.

The British Red Cross said its volunteers are on stand-by to provide food, clothes and medical supplies to people in cut-off areas.

Spokesman Ian Rideout said: "The public should remember to consider those who may be vulnerable or may have become vulnerable as a result of the severe weather. In particular, consideration should be given to elderly residents, pregnant women and those with young children."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?