KATE Forbes has said she is "committed" to work on a pro-independence GERS alternative after the Covid crisis has passed.

The Finance Secretary said that Scotland needs to “refresh” its economic prospectus in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) released today revealed that Scotland’s deficit has more than doubled because of the covid crisis.

The deficit is now 22.4% of gross domestic product (GDP), an increase of 13.6 percentage points in the last year. In 2019-20, the deficit in Scotland was 8.8%.

READ MORE: GERS: A deficit is no barrier to becoming independent, Nicola Sturgeon says

In the rest of the UK, figures show a rise in the deficit from 11.6% to 14.2%.

We previously told how Forbes's predecessor as Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, said in January 2020 that he would publish an alternative economic case for independence alongside the GERS figures.

However, work on this was paused when the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020 and lockdown restrictions were put in place.

Now, Forbes has said that due to the coronavirus crisis the economic case for independence needs to be “refreshed” - but this will only happen once the pandemic has passed.

The Finance Secretary made the comments during a press briefing related to the GERS release. 

Asked by The National if an alternative to GERS, as promised by Mackay, was in the works and what it would look like, Forbes replied: “In terms of the alternative case I do think that we need to refresh our economic prospectus as other countries will be doing and so I remain committed to refreshing that economic case taking into account where we find ourselves, that obviously needs to happen once that crisis is passed, which is what other countries will be doing as well.

The National:

Forbes told The National she is "committed" to refreshing the economic case for independence

"I think the GERS figures in and of themselves tell a story with 40% of spending reserved, 70% of taxation reserved, I do not think anyone can defend the status quo right now, so I do think the GERS tell a very important story which contributes to the case for independence.”

In January 2020, then Finance Secretary Mackay said he had made a “concession” to frustrated party members at the 2019 autumn SNP conference to publish an “equivalent analysis” of what Scotland could do with independence, alongside the GERS figures.

The GERS figures are supposed to show the gap between public spending and tax revenue, but many Yes supporters believe they are misleading.

READ MORE: GERS Day: What is the annual report and why is everyone talking about it?

Mackay said he hoped the alternative GERS figures would be an “annual economic case for independence”.

After Mackay’s resignation, the Scottish Government said that they would still press ahead with publishing an alternative GERS case as late as February 2020.

However, once the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country in March 2020, all independence related work was paused to focus on battling the crisis.