CBI calls for greater clarity on social distancing rules as firms emerge from lockdown

CBI Scotland is calling on the UK and Scottish governments to provide greater clarity on the future direction of social distancing guidelines as businesses emerge from lockdown.

Current social distancing guidelines mean only two-thirds (68%) of staff can physically work on premises & UK firms are operating at 81% of pre-pandemic capacity, according to a survey conducted by the organisation.

The organisation has said that if both the UK and Scottish governments can ‘show their hand sooner rather than later’ and agree a consistent four nation approach to easing social distancing, firms can plan ahead more easily and help spur Scotland’s economic recovery.

CBI Scotland said publishing the data and evidence-base for decision-making will be crucial to ensuring all firms have as safe and smooth a reopening process as possible.

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: “The ongoing success of the vaccination roll-out, 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.”

On consistency across the UK, Tracy Black added: “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.”

Tags: CBI Scotland

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