BUSINESS leaders have called for an “extraordinary” package of support to keep businesses afloat as Scotland faces an impending lockdown.
The Scottish Retail Consortium said closing shops could see retailers lose out on £135m per week in lost revenue.
Tourism and hospitality leaders warned more support was needed urgently for business and their supply chains.
From Boxing Day, mainland Scotland will be under level four restrictions – which mean the closure of non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and gyms – for at least three weeks.
The changes come following the news that a new strain of Covid could be 70% more transmittable than previous strains.
The Scottish Tourism Alliance – in a letter to the first minister co-signed by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, UKHospitality and Scotland Food & Drink – said it understood a “decisive response” was needed.
Marc Crothall, Scottish Tourism chief executive, said: “The ask of the industry is that the Scottish government now delivers a similarly swift and committed response to the economic consequences of this action.
“Sadly, much of the industry is already decimated with many in the sector looking at only the slimmest chance of recovery over the coming months, without much stronger, upweighted levels of targeted support coming from both the Scottish and UK governments.
“Unless this is at similar levels to those being committed by other governments in Europe, the sector will not be able to return to a state of stability nor will it be able to start contributing positively to the nation’s economic recovery.”
Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) director David Lonsdale earlier warned that the lockdown would come “slap bang in the middle of peak trading – which so many are depending on to power their recovery and tide them over”.
“The government will need to offer additional financial support to help these businesses get back on an even keel,” he added.
SRC data indicates that over recent months non-food stores are consistently trading about a fifth down on last year.