Richard Leonard slammed the SNP leader’s decision to backtrack on reducing restrictions in Midlothian after initially stating restrictions would be eased. Mr Leonard stressed that businesses had purchased stock in preparation for a lower level of restrictions and that this U-turn will create greater uncertainty in Scotland.
Mr Leonard said: “Like many businesses across the country, businesses in Midlothian are on their knees.
“We all accept that this situation can be fast-moving and the evidence can move in the wrong direction.
“But decisions like this one today need to be a genuine co-production of the locally elected council, local businesses community, workers and their trade unions.
“In Midlothian, they had been told for the last week that they would move to level 2 including as recently as last Friday.
“It was only at 10.45 am on Monday morning that they were told they may not and only at 16.29 pm that they definitely were not moving to level 2.
“That means as a result stock ordered by businesses will go to waste, investment in health and safety measures will lie idle and staff rehired will once again be laid off.”
The Scottish Labour Party leader continued: “For some business owners, enough is enough, they are throwing in the towel and closing down for good and making staff redundant.
“They simply wanted certainty and they did not get it.
“In these extraordinary circumstances like those facing the economy and the people in Midlothian, will the First Minister provide additional funding over and beyond the £30 million grants last week that was to cover the whole of Scotland?
“Will it act to compensate these businesses and these working people caught out by this eleventh-hour decision?”
More to follow…