Strengthening the Union is my foremost priority and one which the Government is focussing on across the Board. As we have seen in our response to Covid-19, our collective ability to respond in times of crisis demonstrates the value of the Union. The UK Government has provided over £330 billion worth of government backed and guaranteed loans for the benefit of everyone across the UK. In addition, as a result of measures the UK Government is taking forward in England, the Scottish Government has received £3.8 billion in Barnett Consequentials to support businesses, charities, public services and citizens through the pandemic.
I welcome the fact that restrictions are now beginning to be eased in Scotland so that businesses can reopen to support economic recovery. In this key period, the UK Government will continue to focus its efforts on the economy to deliver a swift and forward-looking recovery. This Government is strongly committed to building partnership with industry and support improvements in productivity, employment, innovation and skills. I also see our City, Region and Growth Deals as a key part of our economic recovery and am working to ensure that we can progress implementation of these deals across Scotland to support local economic growth and create jobs.