Stephen White – – His take on the current situation – In his own words…



On Friday 10th December, as a result of Covid in my household, I was forced to pull out of the Office Party for my staff. So while they were giving it large at Cul Cuil, I was confined to quarters with nothing better do that pen a wee post for Linkedin.

Little did I know how that would change my weekend! The post clearly struck a nerve and, by Sunday morning, I was featured on the front page of Scotland On Sunday.

The post has, as they say, gone viral, with 130,000 views, follow up posts and engagement from sectors of Scottish business large and small.

The reference to ‘Jim’ in the headline could refer to Jimmy Crankie, I couldn’t possibly say…..

But, after today’s ScotGov announcement, we are now being forced to ask some pretty serious questions about the future for our businesses and how we live with Covid.

Can we go on with this stop-start, never-know-what’s next, existence?

Does ScotGov really understand the business economy or care?

Can we survive without adequate financial support?

The answer to all of the above is a resounding ‘NO’.

From the feedback and conversations I have had since Friday, there is palpable anger amongst the hospitality sector and the wider business community.

How utterly reckless is it for our government leaders to cancel Christmas by implication and stealth – leaving thousands of businesses across Scotland with massively reduced income and bills that they cannot pay?

One hospitality wholesaler currently estimates a £500,000 write off of fresh produce. I have spoken to others with similar stories – and that’s just the supply chain.

After a horrific 20 months, the licensed trade was just starting to enjoy what was likely to be a bumper Festive Season. The anticipated profits would go some way to repairing the damage done by lockdowns and, perhaps, cover the fallow period of Q1 2022.

Instead, bankruptcies, liquidations and severe economic damage are likely to result in a hospitality industry which is a significant contributor to the Scottish Economy.

As I said in my post, on Friday night

“It should beggar belief that ScotGov have endorsed Public Health Scotland’s advice without considering the economic consequences and without pausing to formulate a plan. But it’s actually sadly predictable.

Instead it’s so much easier to utter a few short words and shut us down by implication.

The damage is done now – there’s no way to recover Festive 2021.

The only thing that the UK (and Scottish) Government can do is to move swiftly to introduce substantial packages of relief.”

And today, the FM has made it clear that she is keeping hospitality open against her better judgement and desire to close us down completely.

If only the UK Government would come to the party with funding, she would be able to close us down – I think that’s what she said?

And she has found £100million to give us to say ‘sorry’ for the irreversible damage she has already done.

It might be an apology but it is shallow to say the least and it doesn’t give us any real hope when she says the following words…

“This is not a choice between protecting health and protecting the economy”.

If any of us were in any doubt about where we stand, well we surely know now.

Stephen White – The Kidbrooke Group

Category: Coronavirus, Editors' Picks, Interviews, News
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