Following the announcement of the extension of current lockdown measures in Scotland, the Chamber network is calling for the speeding up of access to vital business funds and support for the aviation sector.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today the measures would remain in place until at least the end of February.

Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“It will come as little surprise to Scottish businesses that restrictions will be in place for at least the rest of the month. Many will be disappointed that non-essential shops will remain closed, not least because of the immense investment the sector has made so they are safe for employees and customers.

“We continue to urge the Scottish Government, local authorities and agencies to speed up the release of vital business support funds. This is essential to provide cashflow support to businesses that have been forced to close. Ultimately, the best route to support the economy is to re-open. That’s why we urgently need an economic roadmap to recovery, that outlines clear conditions and timelines for reopening sectors of the economy if we are to protect businesses and jobs.”

In response to the impact on the travel sector related to plans for tougher quarantine restrictions, Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said:

“CV19 has created a hugely uncertain environment for the transport sector with the impact on the aviation sector particularly damaging. The Aberdeen city region is dependent on air connectivity to enable our internationally focused economy. Securing the future of our airport, retaining and strengthening connections to key hubs and cities and ensuring we do not become just a distant Northern outpost is vital to our recovery.

“In addition to holding in place the rates relief package for airports, our governments must ensure that the UK Government’s ‘Union Connectivity Review’ supports ambitious proposals to strengthen regional air links across the UK taking account of Aberdeen’s unique circumstances; and consider the suspension of Air Passenger Duty for an extended period, linked to industry plans to accelerate decarbonisation commitments allowing the sector to rebuild customer demand while investing in sustainability.

“As a minimum we must see a level playing field across Scotland to end the competitive disadvantage under which Aberdeen International Airport is currently operating.”

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