10 July 2020
Lockdown Phase 3
The First Minister outlined in her statement to Parliament yesterday that we can now move to Phase 3 of the routemap out of lockdown.
This has only been possible because we have and continue to stick to Scottish Government guidance. We are suppressing the virus but must continue to be vigilant, more so now than before as we begin to relax some of the lockdown measures.
- From today face covering will be mandatory in shops.
- From Monday shopping centres will be able to reopen and all dental practices may begin to see registered patients for non-aerosol routine care. Urgent care centres will continue to provide aerosol generating procedures.
- From Wednesday hairdressers, bars, restaurants and cinemas can reopen and places of worship can re-open for congregational services, communal prayer and contemplation with physical distancing and limited numbers.
For the full updated measures please go to: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-framework-decision-making-scotlands-route-map-through-out-crisis-phase-3-update/pages/2/
I also took the opportunity to ask the First Minister what support the Scottish Government could offer music venues, which have been hard hit and will for some time to come due to the virus. I have copied the full exchange below:
Sandra White (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP): I thank the First Minister for her statement and for the mention of music venues in particular. I also welcome the earlier commitment of £10 million and a further commitment of £90 million to the arts, culture and creative industries. However, music venues, of which there are many in my constituency, will be one of the last types of business to reopen. Can the First Minister confirm that support will be made available for them?
The First Minister: It is undoubtedly the case that further support will be needed for music venues, because the impact of the pandemic has been devastating on not only venues but the music industry more widely.
People in the sector have, of course, benefited from some of the funding packages that were announced at the outset, such as the pivotal enterprise resilience fund; the creative, tourism and hospitality enterprises hardship fund; and Creative Scotland’s bridging bursaries. We want to do more and we are already in close contact with representatives of the industry to understand its specific needs in order that we can tailor further financial support. There is no doubt that further financial support will be necessary.
The Cabinet Secretary for Finance also made a statement to Parliament in response to the Chancellor of the Exchequers economic update earlier this week.
The Scottish Government have requested more powers for borrowing which would enable the Cabinet Secretary to provide a much needed boost to the economy as well as protecting jobs.
The request I believe is more than reasonable and in fact is undoubtedly required in these unprecedented times and I fully support those calls. In light of this I asked the Cabinet Secretary the following question:
Sandra White (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP): I understand why there has been a lot of talk about fiscal stimulus and flexibilities but, as others have mentioned, and as I am sure the cabinet secretary will agree, what is needed is the transfer of borrowing powers. That is important. We have heard about moneys being “given” from Westminster to Scotland. Will the cabinet secretary please let it be known that those moneys are not given; they are moneys that we pay taxes toward?
Kate Forbes: Absolutely. They are not gifts; the Scottish taxpayer pays for them and will contribute to the bill at the end. The UK Government has funded most of the interventions through borrowing at record low interest rates, which is welcome.
The borrowing powers that we have are all well and good in normal times. However, during an extraordinary crisis such as the one that we are in now, they do not work. The very simple requests that we have made about repurposing the borrowing powers would make all the difference and would allow us to be flexible in our response and ensure that hard-pressed households and budgets across the country have the support that they need.
Please remember to stay safe and follow the FACTS – Face coverings; Avoid crowded places; Clean hands regularly; Two metre distance; Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.