Businesses call for four-nation approach to easing guidelines

CBI Scotland wants UK and Scottish governments to give more details about how and when coronavirus restrictions will be eased.

Businesses call for four-nation approach to easing guidelines Getty Images

CBI Scotland has demanded more clarity about the future of social distancing guidelines that are impacting worker numbers and business capacity.

The business group has called on the UK and Scottish governments to give more details about how and when the restrictions will be eased.

It also calls for a consistent approach across all four nations of the UK, along with the publication of evidence and data used for decision making.

A survey by the CBI found social distancing rules mean almost a third (32%) of staff are unable to physically be at their workplace.

It also shows firms are currently operating at 81% of pre-pandemic capacity.

Tracy Black, director of CBI Scotland, said: “The ongoing success of the vaccination rollout, alongside guidance from the UK and Scottish governments, have provided firm foundations for the safe and gradual reopening of the economy.

“Indicative timings have proven invaluable in helping businesses to forward plan and develop contingencies with confidence.

“But with considerable uncertainty still ahead, firms are anxiously awaiting big decisions from government that will impact the way they run their businesses over the coming months.

“With workplaces operating well short of full capacity, the future of social distancing is a key piece of the recovery jigsaw and will affect all of our lives. That’s why it’s so important to start building consensus among businesses and the public now about the way forward.

“By asking both governments to show their hands sooner rather than later, we can develop a consistent way forward for firms across the UK.

“By communicating early and clearly, both governments can help businesses to plan, prepare and invest.

“With the UK Government continuing to conduct its four reviews as part of its Covid roadmap, business is urging both the incoming Scottish government to work with counterparts in Westminster and other devolved partners to develop a clear and consistent approach across the four nations.

“That will give Scottish firms certainty, parity with competitors across the UK and help unlock vital investment.”