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Concern over distancing

Half of Glasgow firms ‘not ready for return to work’

Stuart Patrick

Stuart Patrick: there is a need for greater guidance (pic: Terry Murden)

Almost half of companies in Glasgow are not confident that they could return to work under current social distancing rules.

In a survey of 200 businesses by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, 21% said they could not operate under the rule that says people must stay two metres apart to avoid passing on the virus, with 24% saying they didn’t know if they could due to staff having to work closely together or trading space being too tight.

Glasgow Chamber chief executive Stuart Patrick, pictured, said: “The views of our members show there is a need for greater government policy guidance on how to operate with social distancing. Largely this is about what is going to be needed for businesses to start reopening in a safe way under social distancing rules.”

He added: “The results of this survey show there is not going to be a swift return to normal working for many Glasgow businesses. This implies there must be longer-term support for them, which supports the view that tapering of the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) is important. 

“This support is needed, or people will be made redundant. There must be no cliff-edge on JRS, as the Chancellor has said. But it must not be switched off in July, rather we could be talking about well into the summer in Glasgow and in Scotland.”

Of the 200 respondents to the survey, three quarters were SMEs. The sectoral breakdown of the respondents is broadly representative of the sectors in the city’s economy – with 26% in b2c sectors like tourism, retail and leisure,19% in financial and professional services,15% in construction and manufacturing, 8% education and health, 8% creative and media and 4% in transport.

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