It is essential that our businesses, employees, health service and the most economically vulnerable in our society are all protected through this time. The Scottish Government is ready to act to support businesses affected by the coronavirus, and is working closely with its partners and the business community to identify the most effective measures available.
The Minister for Local Government and Planning and the Chief Planner wrote to all planning authorities this week encouraging them to relax their approach to the enforcement of planning restrictions on shop delivery times and opening hours. The Economy Secretary has also chaired a meeting with representatives from Scotland’s business support organisations including the STUC to hear their concerns and provide reassurance that the Scottish Government will do everything in its power to protect the workforce, businesses and our economy.
A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 is now live, and will be open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am to 5.30pm. The helpline will also help the Scottish Government identify the current challenges facing businesses. The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660.
I would also encourage everyone to refer to the new guidance on COVID-19 that includes workplace advice on reducing the spread of infection. Further information is available .
It is welcome that the UK Government has announced additional funding in its budget to help deal with the coronavirus. We now require urgent clarification on what funding Scotland will receive from the announcements at a time when prospects for the economy and public finances remain very uncertain as the short term impacts of COVID-19 unfold.
The First Minister has been clear that all consequential funding arising from the Chancellor’s announcement on non-domestic rates will be passed on in full to support Scottish business. The Scottish Government will also be looking within its own resources, as to where it can provide further support. The Scottish Government will very shortly announce a package of additional support for businesses, including appropriate interventions through the business rates regime.
You may also be aware that the Chancellor has said that the NHS will get whatever it needs to deal with coronavirus. This must also apply to the Scottish NHS. The Scottish Government will be taking all necessary steps to ensure that our public services can respond to Covid-19 as effectively as possible.
I hope that this information will provide you with reassurance.
Richard Lyle MSP
Uddingston and Bellshill Constituency
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