Sturgeon calls for four-nation talks to tighten lockdown measures beyond those announced
Nicola Sturgeon has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for urgent four-nation talks to tighten lockdown restrictions to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
The First Minister has pointed to scientific opinion that bringing the virus back under control will require measures beyond those announced so far.
She also highlighted that devolved administrations’ ability to take action is curtailed by a lack of financial levers to deliver economic support.
Ms Sturgeon wrote: “The collective agreement yesterday of the four nations to drive Covid transmission to the lowest possible level and keep it there was particularly welcome.
“However, I am sure you will agree that we must all now act in a manner that can achieve that objective.
“While all four governments announced new restrictions yesterday, there is clearly a significant strand of scientific opinion to the effect that bringing R back below 1 and the virus back under control will require measures beyond those which any of us have so far announced.
“In my view, there is considerable force in that opinion.
“It is also the case – and we know this from our experience earlier this year – that acting quickly and decisively against the virus is essential.
“In other words, if we believe further action will be required there is nothing to be gained – and potentially much to be lost, including lives – from delay.
“Therefore, I am writing to request further four nations discussions on three inter-related questions.”
The topics highlighted by the First Minister include what further actions might be necessary, what support is required for affected sectors and what arrangements can be put in place to ensure that devolved administrations are not constrained in making what they judge to be essential public health decisions.
A UK Government spokesman said: “The Prime Minister held a Cobra meeting on Tuesday which was attended by the leaders of the devolved administrations.
“This crisis has shown clearly the value of Scotland being part of a strong United Kingdom, with the UK Government providing the bulk of Covid testing in Scotland, the UK’s armed forces playing a key role in providing support for Scottish communities, and the UK Treasury playing an absolutely critical role in supporting jobs and business across Scotland.
“We will continue to tackle this pandemic as one United Kingdom.”
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