Ian Blackford was challenged over the SNP’s role in the job losses the Scottish tourism and aviation industries have suffered because of the quarantine requirements the Scottish Government imposed. BBC Today presenter Mishal Husain questioned the delay in enforcing the new rule despite the negative impact suffered in key sectors already facing huge threats because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ms Husain said: “In the words of the boss of Aberdeen International Airport, you’ve got a policy that’s not even been enforced that played a role in thousands of jobs being lost in aviation and tourism.
“What was the point of having a quarantine policy that wasn’t enforced?
“I’m sure you can see why people looking at this in the light of the way Nicola Sturgeon has called the quarantine plan and the way out of it, the air bridges, shambolic…you’ve had this policy that hasn’t been enforced and has done damage to businesses in Scotland.”
Mr Blackford, the SNP’s leader in Westminster, insisted the Scottish Government was focused on ensuring the Scottish economy would be able to recover from the crisis the pandemic caused.
He also insisted the delay in implementing the quarantine measures was the result of discussions with the other nations to agree on a memorandum of understanding.
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Mr Blackford said: “I don’t think it’s a case of doing damage in Scotland. We want to make sure business can flourish, we want to make sure the economy comes out of this. We want to make sure there is a plan that the economy can recover but that we can also deal with the issue of inequality.
“The quarantine policy is something that’s been brought in across the United Kingdom, is led by the border force and we need to get to a situation that the Scottish Government had access to the data.
“It’s taken some time to do that, now it’s in place. As you said yourself, checks on those that are coming into the country are now going to be taking place.
“Because we had to get a memorandum of understanding across the different governments, it’s taken a while to do that.”
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