Scotland should follow UK lockdown strategy

SCOTTISH firms gave only a wary welcome as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the lifting of restrictions on businesses for the first time really since last March from Monday.

Short-term details about mask-wearing situations were still being ironed out but the longer term was also sharply in focus.

Key questions remain over the impact from the winding down of support and how we respond to new variants. How will we tackle future outbreaks and what about future lockdowns? Who would be locked down first next time?

There are growing calls now for a direct policy on rebuilding one of the worst hit sectors, hospitality.

The Scottish Hospitality Group, made up of businesses including The DRG Group, Signature Pubs, G1 Group and Caledonian Heritable, is championing an industry-specific recovery plan.

It flags UK Government Business Minister Paul Scully’s launch of its hospitality strategy last month, covering the three Rs of reopening, recovery, and resilience.

Justifiably concerned over what might happen next, SHG members are suggesting a similar plan of action is adopted north of the Border, which will “encourage employees back into the sector and create sustainable long-term jobs” as well as striving to improve town and city centres.

“Scotland is moving in the right direction, and we welcome the easing of restrictions, but it needs to go further,” says Stephen Montgomery, of the SHG

“We need a recovery plan now that will entice people back into the sector and give them the confidence that they are entering a stable industry again.

“The lockdown has shown how hospitality can adapt in city centres and we are willing to put our weight behind new ways of operating, but we need support behind us to ensure that there are long-term solutions supported by the country and we are not left on our own again.”

HeraldScotland: The First Minister's statement this week received a wary welcome, and the Prime Minister was on the back foot over Scottish oil issues. PA/Getty Images.The First Minister’s statement this week received a wary welcome, and the Prime Minister was on the back foot over Scottish oil issues. PA/Getty Images.

Differences between the two administrations were also highlighted by business correspondent Kristy Dorsey in the lead column on Friday.

“With unmistakable echoes of the wartime spirit, it is our duty, we are being told, to emerge from the safety of our bunkers at home and return to the workplace arena,” she writes. “Well, in England that is. In Scotland the advice remains to work from home where possible, with no indication as to when that might cease to be the case.”

The role the country’s biggest financial institutions should play in the recovery is examined by deputy business editor Scott Wright in his Tuesday column, where he considers how close the economy is to recovering from the pandemic.

“Not too far away, judging by results released by the UK’s major banks in recent days,” he writes.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was to be found on the back foot over the Shetland Cambo oil field during his visit to Scotland, a major strike that could provide fuel up to 2050 if required and also bring work for those in the North Sea supply chain, but which is opposed by activists.

Mark Williamson raises the question in his column: “Would a veto on a bumper Shetland development just fuel demand for imported oil?”

A cup is raised for Catherine Franks, of North Berwick’s Steampunk Coffee Roasters and Cafe, and Scotland’s first sustainability food hero, having won the #FoodHeroScot visual storytelling campaign in recognition of her commitment to the sustainable business model.

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The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992