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Article published 16/02/2021

Key points from the parliamentary statement given by the First Minister on Tuesday 16 February 2021

 

  • The core stay at home requirement will remain in place until at least the beginning of March - and possibly for a further period beyond that, although not for longer than necessary.
  • The Scottish Government is currently preparing a revised strategic framework, which will set out in much more detail when and how we might gradually emerge from this lockdown.
  • It hopes to publish the new framework next week following discussions with the other parties in parliament, and also with business organisations, trade unions, third sector bodies and others.
  • It will detail the broad order of priority for re-opening, including what a return to a geographic levels approach might look like in due course.
  • It will continue to prioritise education, followed by greater family contact and the phased re-opening of the economy, probably with non-essential retail starting to open first.
  • And it will be clear on the trade-offs - not least continued travel restrictions - that will be necessary to make more normality within our own borders possible.
  • The Scottish Government is likely to advise against booking Easter holidays, either overseas or within Scotland, as it is highly unlikely that hotels or self-catering accommodation will be able to fully open by then.
  • However, for the summer, while it is still highly unlikely that overseas holidays will be possible or advisable, staycations might be - but this will depend on the data nearer the time.
  • For now, we must continue to abide by the stay at home requirement.

Non-domestic rates relief extended

Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses will pay no rates during 2021-22 under proposals outlined today.

It is one of a series of measures proposed by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes following confirmation of a further £1.1 billion of consequential funding arising from UK Government coronavirus (COVID-19) spending.

The move builds on the three month rates relief extension announced in the Scottish Budget and will be taken forward provided the Scottish Government receives the funding already assumed from the UK Budget on 3 March, and that requisite funds are available to maintain existing support into 2021-22.

Further information

Read the First Minister's full statement, which includes further details of the phased re-opening of schools.

Read the Coronavirus (COVID-19): stay at home guidance.

A copy of the Finance Secretary’s Budget Update statement to the Scottish Parliament is available online.