2nd November 2020
Commenting on remarks made by the First Minister today on the prospect of further economic restrictions, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“The decision for Scotland to enter a national lockdown – or not – must be driven by the health and economic evidence. In our view, Scotland must not be put in the position of having to lock down its economy simply to access business support available in England.
“Where we are unable to take a 4 nations approach, Westminster needs to work with the devolved nations to ensure areas are not made worse off relative to others. Therefore, where Scottish businesses are placed into similar restrictions as in England, then the same level of business support must be available when restrictions are triggered. The Prime Minister has made a commitment to make the furlough scheme available in the future if other parts of the UK apply restrictive measures – we look forward to seeing further detail on this. However, the Prime Minister must also consider the provision of further grants support to help businesses survive, as well as supporting our employees.
“Switching from the Scottish Government’s ‘Levels’ approach to a national lockdown would send out mixed messages to businesses, employees and customers, especially when we are only in the first day of the Strategic Framework and where there is broad consensus on the ‘Levels’ approach. Scottish Government must continue to publish and monitor data, and review on a weekly basis. Ultimately, what business needs is the ability to trade consistently and openly, particularly in the run-up to Christmas.”