9th November 2021

Commenting on the Deputy First Minister John Swinney’s statement to Parliament, in which the Scottish Government indicated existing Covid-19 baseline measures could be strengthened, including the extension of the vaccine passport scheme to more hospitality and leisure venues, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“The Deputy First Minister is right to say that Scotland is at a pivotal moment in our recovery from COVID-19 and that’s why it’s essential we don’t now take a massive step backwards through the introduction of further economic deterrents, enhanced baseline measures and increasing use of vaccine certification.

“Given the damaging implications that strengthening the existing baseline protective measures will have on Scotland’s businesses, the Scottish Government must urgently get round the table with businesses to demonstrate the evidence for ramping up restrictions and detail what financial support they will make available for businesses if they choose to do so.

“The positive economic forecasts that projected a return to pre-pandemic levels of growth in Scotland by early next year are all subject to there being no return of restrictions. It’s clear that this announcement from the Scottish Government will put this rapid return to growth at risk, create further economic uncertainty and undermine consumer confidence once again.”

On encouraging increased home working:

“Our town and city centre economies have taken a hammering over the past 18 months and those businesses which rely on office worker footfall from retail to hospitality and everything in between will be deeply concerned to hear the Scottish Government talking up the prospect of increased home working again.

“It’s clear the decisions around office return should be left to businesses, in discussion with their employees, and that offices shouldn’t be singled out once again as a key transmission point when many businesses have invested millions in ensuring workplaces are safe for staff, customers and clients.”

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