I listened to the cabinet secretary’s opening comments with an increasing sense of despair. In essence, she said that the assistance that was in place was in place, and that despite the increasing evidence that we are facing an absolutely catastrophic situation in terms of jobs, there would be no new money and no new schemes.
What she offered was a sympathetic ear and hope for the new year. As Pauline McNeill pointed out, however, businesses simply will not be here then, and hope will be insufficient. I thank goodness that I am not a retailer anymore. If I were, I would be sitting on thousands of pounds-worth of stock that I would have had to commit to back in August and September, with no possibility of selling it, which would leave me ruined. If the cabinet secretary can explain to me what she says to retailers in similar situations, especially in level 4 areas, I would be interested in her answer.