Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon raised the possibility of a “complete lockdown” and described the funding for Westminster as a “crucial point”.
As Scotland enters a new five-tier system of restrictions, the Scottish government could end up with the bill to support businesses forced to close if and when the highest tier is introduced at a later date.
The prime minister said in a statement her government “will carefully consider the impact” of the lockdown in England.
‘A crucial point for us is whether support at the scale advertised for English businesses is available for Scottish businesses now or if we need to impose further restrictions later – or if it is only available if the ‘Scotland has a full lockdown at the same time as a lockdown in England,’ she said.
On Twitter, she later said that funding for the treasury was “a key issue.”
Asked by Sky News about the funding of Scotland’s tier system, the Treasury Department declined to be specific, instead pointing to its previous statement which read: “CJRS [The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme] is extended until December. ”
Some public health experts in Scotland fear their carefully planned regional restrictions are now at risk.
Professor Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Chair in Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, believes the lack of secured funding has the potential to force the problem.
“The question for the Scottish government, and indeed for Northern Ireland and Wales, is whether they needed to implement these kinds of measures again in the future, would there be leave available to them?
“The question arises as to whether the Scottish government might be forced to do something more dramatic in November to take advantage of this tax package. “
Much of Scotland’s central belt, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, is in the third tier of the new restrictions, meaning licensed premises can open during the day, after three weeks of forced closure.
For Stuart Smith, who signed a lease on Fin and Grape restaurant in Edinburgh as restrictions relaxed in July, the new uncertainty is worrying.
It has created new menus for its scheduled opening next week, but is now holding back from ordering food.
“If we are closed it is obviously a major problem,” he said.
“It’s a huge, huge worry. We can get away with it, we can struggle, but of course that would be pretty disastrous. “