Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd December 2020.

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The First Minister:

This is a really tough time for the wedding industry across the country, and that is undoubtedly particularly true in Gretna. We have recently allocated funding for the sector and its supply chain, and we will seek to ensure that those who have had little or—as in some cases—no support since March are targeted for that support.

I deeply regret the impact on cross-border trade and on particular sectors and businesses, but it is unavoidable, because stopping travel within Scotland and from Scotland to other parts of the UK is a key part of trying not to spread the new strain any further. We know that it already exists in Scotland, and we have to suppress it here, but we think that it is still at lower levels; therefore, it is important to stop importing any more of it. That is true for the entirety of Scotland, but, obviously, it has particular resonance in the border parts of Scotland and England. We do not want the restrictions to be in place for any longer than necessary, but they are necessary right now, which is why I encourage everybody to strictly abide by them.