‘£700m storm damage to Scots economy’

The storms of December and January have already caused up to £700 million of damage to the Scottish economy, according to insurance experts at consultants PwC.

“Storms Frank and Eva were particularly hard on Scotland in particular and it is still difficult to ascertain what the full financial impact of the storms and the rainfall from this will be,” said Mohammad Khan, general insurance leader for PwC.

“However, based on our current estimates, we estimate the economic losses to Scotland from the December and early New Year weather to be between £350 million and £700 million and the insured losses to be between £175 million and £350 million.

“This compares with a total UK economic loss of between £2 billion and £2.8 billion and insured UK losses of between £1 billion and £1.4 billion.”

Khan said many small businesses were not covered by insurance for flood damage and these businesses have been left exposed to further damage.

He said some small businesses that were not insured will have to pay between £35,000 and £100,000 on average to repair property damage caused by floods — and then face the cost of replacing damaged stock.

Martin Cowie, private business leader for PwC in Scotland, warned that with more rain forecast in January, there is little relief in sight for many Scottish businesses and households.

The north of Scotland, Perthshire and Dumfries & Galloway suffered the worst impact from storms Desmond, Eva and Frank.

“While some Scottish businesses could find themselves impacted by ongoing road and rail closures in the short term, for example, what we’ve seen from previous extreme weather events is that much of the productivity lost is actually made up fairly soon after,” said Cowie.

“For some businesses, however, the losses they experience will be permanent — if someone has cancelled hotel or bed & breakfast accommodation, a restaurant booking,  or not gone to the theatre or the cinema, then that money will be lost.

“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, any new severe weather events may well push them over the edge.”