Businesses across East Renfrewshire are this week counting the cost of their battle with ‘the Beast from the East.’

The extreme weather left many firms with no option but to stage a temporary shutdown as staff were unable to make it to their work and customers had to stay at home.

Laura Molloy, vice-president of East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We work a lot with the supply chain and construction firms in the area.

“We have had reports from small supply chain companies, housebuilders and primary contractors that almost all had to stop work due to the snow, with some closing completely for three days.”

Experts at economic think tank the Fraser of Allander Institute have suggested increased production in the coming months could more than make up for losses suffered by businesses during last week’s big freeze.

They point to the last period of severe weather in the final quarter of 2010, when Scotland’s economy shrunk by 0.7 per cent.

The biggest falls were in production and construction but, in the first quarter of 2011, output grew by 0.9 per cent.

A spokesperson for the Fraser of Allander Institute said: “In the modern economy, a greater proportion of the workforce is able to work remotely than in the past.”

Meanwhile, police in East Renfrewshire recorded a notable drop in the number of calls they received during the worst of the weather.

And, as things returned to normal this week, bosses at East Renfrewshire Council thanked local residents for their patience.

Council leader Tony Buchanan said: “All our services are running at full capacity again and our bin collections which didn’t take place last week will be collected by Friday.

“It was wonderful to see community spirit alive and well, with neighbours looking after each other and many Parent Councils out clearing school paths over the weekend.”