Scottish Borders Council leader asks questions before agreeing to tiering decision

The Scottish Government has advised that the Scottish Borders should be in Tier 2 when the new system comes into force on November 2.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 6:18 am

This means a continuation of the current measures that we have seen over the last three weeks.

Leader of Scottish Borders Council, Shona Haslam, has demanded that the Scottish Government gives the public answers to the following important questions before we can agree to any Ministerial decisions.

· What is the criteria for each of the 5 tiers in terms of R number and rate per 100,000

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· What is the R number in the Borders, and each of the 5 locality of the Borders

· What is our rate per 100,000 in Borders and each of 5 localities

· What is the criteria for each tier and moving between tiers

· What flexibility do we have for localising the lockdown further, for example, if Cheviot has a high number of cases why does Tweeddale West have to lock down.

· What business support is in place for our tourism and hospitality industry that may not have to close but will be badly affected.

· What will the impact be on our already stretched policing to enforce any lockdown measures, and will additional policing resources be made available.

Cllr Shona Haslam said: “The Scottish Government must provide clear answers to the people of the Scottish Borders before I can agree to any tiering designation for the Scottish Borders.

“Without this transparency it is incredibly difficult to understand what the SNP Government is doing and how they are taking their decisions.

“With low rates per 100,000, good NHS capacity and no community transition, I need certainty that Tier 2 is the correct tier for the Scottish Borders.

“Being in Tier 2 has the potential to be the worst case scenario, it would be a hammer blow to local businesses already feeling the economic strain of the pandemic.

“If we were in tier 3 business would be getting support as they would have to close, if we were in tier 1 then businesses could stay open and stay viable.

“I am really concerned that being in tier 2 with the current restrictions on hospitality but with no support will be disastrous for local business.

“Over the next few days I will be having conversations with the Scottish Government with regards to this tiering system. I will be arguing for clear evidence as to why we are in tier 2 and business support for those businesses affected.”

John Lamont MP said: “Businesses and livelihoods in the Borders cannot be an afterthought when it comes to further restrictions being introduced.

“That is why I am calling on the Scottish Government for the further support local businesses need and deserve.

“Building in a business advisory council to the SNP’s tiered strategy would give businesses the seat around the table that they’ve been crying out for throughout this pandemic.

Rachael Hamilton MSP, said: “Town centres and local businesses are the backbone of our Borders communities; it is vital that the Scottish Government provide the required support to protect businesses.”