Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 1st December 2020.

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The First Minister:

I agree with that in general terms. In the absence of details about precisely which companies might be doing what Patrick Harvie is talking about, I will avoid going into specifics, but I would be very happy to get more details so that we could consider the matter further.

I get lots of emails and other contacts with suggestions that some companies and individuals are not complying with the letter or the spirit of the restrictions. When it is appropriate, we follow that up. In general, compliance in level 4 areas and in areas in other levels is good and strong. Where we can, we gather data on compliance. For example, in relation to transport and travel, the police gather data on the penalties that they issue.

The evidence suggests that compliance is good, but there will always be exceptions to that. The vast majority of employers are operating responsibly but, again, there will be exceptions to that. I urge all employers to behave responsibly towards their workforce and to stay within the letter and the spirit of the restrictions because, although I recognise that it is hard now, it is to the medium to long-term benefit of employers for all of us, collectively, to get the levels and rates of infection down.

I agree with Patrick Harvie on the generality of his point. I am very happy to look at the details and, if there is more that we can do or more comments that it would be appropriate for me to make, I would be happy to do that.