SCC respond to the second review of the Covid-19 Strategic Framework
On the First Minister’s speech today outlining the outcomes of the second review of the Covid-19 Strategic Framework, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“The economy has been dealt another blow today. Returning to lockdown makes Christmas an increasingly bleak prospect, particularly for those people and their families whose jobs rely on businesses being able to trade. Several sectors have faced damaging loss of trade and are failing to make a return on investment.
“Businesses have done their utmost and have stuck with it through initial lockdowns and restrictions. They are now running on fumes. They have invested significantly to ensure they’re operating safely and can rightly feel aggrieved that commitments on test & trace which are supposed to be another key method of reducing the harm both the virus and the lockdowns have so far fallen short.
“Stimulus will be needed to avoid permanent damage to the economy and the prospects of many who are set to lose their jobs. Furlough is a help but no panacea. Grants currently available in Scotland of around £1,500 do not scratch the surface. We must see levels more like in the first stages of lockdown with cash grants available more in the range of £10,000 or £25,000 depending on severity and need. We welcome the money allocated to the discretionary fund and for the self-employed and we look forward to further detail and assurance that it will be issued as quickly as possible.
“An holistic approach must address other overheads. Scottish Government should be suspending all rate payments for businesses that must shut their doors and should consider making this the same across all areas of Scotland.
“We must do everything we can to ensure their tanks don’t run empty.”
Charandeep Singh, Deputy Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“The travel industry is facing significant pressures as a result of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. Despite the best efforts of our members to keep trading and retain jobs, the lack of direct financial support and the tightening of restrictions is making the trading environment exceptionally challenging. The industry is facing unprecedented challenges, including a drop in demand which will impact employment and business viability.
“We need to step up our efforts and do everything that we can to safeguard these vital businesses and protect the talent and expertise of employees in the industry. An immediate support package from the Scottish Government to support business and employment costs is needed now to provide relief for the sector.”
Joanne Dooey, President of Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), said:
“Scotland is a small country which needs its connectivity to the rest of the globe. We have already lost important air routes. If this continues to happen, it will be catastrophic for the Scottish economy. We need support from the Scottish Government quickly to save our businesses.”
Linda Hill Miller, Founder & Owner of LAH Travel, said:
“During this crisis, the travel sector has been the first port of call for travellers and we have stepped up to support our customers – we provided advice and guidance to travellers, issued refunds, re-arranged family holidays and more. We now need the Scottish Government to step up for our industry and provide us with the support we need to survive this crisis.”