Covid-19

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

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The First Minister:

The restrictions that, regrettably, we announced, reflect restrictions that, unfortunately, are in place in all parts of the UK and, indeed, in many other parts of the world. We must be clear about the fact that, although the impact on business is understood and is severe and heartbreaking, we would make that impact worse if we did not act appropriately to suppress the virus. Obviously, that places responsibilities on us to ensure that businesses are appropriately supported. I have already said that the Cabinet Secretary for Finance is looking again at additional support for business. She has recently announced additional funding for tourism, in particular, and the processes are under way to get that money flowing to businesses as quickly as possible.

The support that will be required for the tourism sector is likely not only to be greater than for any other sector in our economy but for the longer term. The sector has been deeply affected, which is why the tourism task force looked at not just immediate measures but medium and long-term support. The tourism minister and the Cabinet are fully engaged in ensuring that we respond appropriately.