THE Scottish Government is planning to place the Borders in Tier 2 of the local lockdown system, according to Shona Haslam. 

Mrs Haslam, the Conservative leader of Scottish Borders Council, is seeking more information about how decisions are being made, adding that Tier 2 could be the “worst case scenario” for businesses.

In a press release issued today (October 26), Mrs Haslam said: “The Scottish Government must provide clear answers to the people of the Scottish Borders before I can agree to any tiering designation for the Scottish Borders.

“Without this transparency it is incredibly difficult to understand what the SNP Government is doing and how they are taking their decisions.”

The Scottish Government will introduce the five-tier system on November 2, with Tier 0 seeing the most relaxed rules and Tier 4 having the strictest.

In Tier 2, visiting other households indoors is banned. Meanwhile, pubs can serve alcohol indoors with a main meal.

Six people from two households are allowed to meet outdoors and in hospitality settings.

However, Mrs Haslam believes Tier 2 could prove to be a “hammer blow” to local businesses.

In her statement, she writes: “With low rates per 100,000, good NHS capacity and no community transition, I need certainty that Tier 2 is the correct tier for the Scottish Borders.

“Being in Tier 2 has the potential to be the worst case scenario, it would be a hammer blow to local businesses already feeling the economic strain of the pandemic.

“If we were in Tier 3 business would be getting support as they would have to close, if we were in Tier 1 then businesses could stay open and stay viable.

“I am really concerned that being in Tier 2 with the current restrictions on hospitality but with no support will be disastrous for local business.

“Over the next few days I will be having conversations with the Scottish Government with regards to this tiering system.

“I will be arguing for clear evidence as to why we are in Tier 2 and business support for those businesses affected.”

Mrs Haslam, who represents Tweeddale East, has sent the Scottish Government a list of questions she would like answered.

This newspaper has approached the Scottish Government for comment.

These are the questions submitted by Shona Haslam

  • What is the criteria for each of the five tiers in terms of R number and rate per 100,000?
  • What is the R number in the Borders, and each of the five localities of the Borders?
  • What is our rate per 100,000 in Borders and each of five localities?
  • What is the criteria for each tier and moving between tiers?
  • What flexibility do we have for localising the lockdown further, for example, if Cheviot has a high number of cases why does Tweeddale West have to lock down?
  • What business support is in place for our tourism and hospitality industry that may not have to close but will be badly affected?
  • What will the impact be on our already stretched policing to enforce any lockdown measures, and will additional policing resources be made available?