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by Louise Wilson
03 September 2021
Vaccine passports could risk economic recovery, businesses warn

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Vaccine passports could risk economic recovery, businesses warn

Vaccine passports may act as an “economic deterrent” and risk making recovery even harder, Scotland’s business community has warned.

Writing to the First Minister and opposition leaders, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has expressed concern that requiring vaccine certification would “add yet another layer of administrative burden to sectors that have already been amongst the hardest hit”.

The letter follows an announcement made by Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday which could result in adults attending nightclubs or large events to have to prove they have received both doses of a Covid vaccine before entry.

It is understood the Scottish Government wants to rollout the scheme from 30 September, though this will be subject to a vote to take place in parliament on Thursday.

Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the SCC, welcomed the fact the issue will be debated and called for urgent clarity on where the new rules could apply.

She said: “Scotland’s economy is now finally beginning to recover, however the fact remains that many businesses continue to operate in survival mode, and the prospect of economic deterrents such as vaccine certificates, could prove damaging to business and consumer confidence.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have already signalled their intention to oppose the measure, warning “Covid ID cards” would set a “dangerous precedent” on how people access services in the future.

The party is urging the Scottish Greens to also vote against the plan.

The Greens had expressed some concerns when vaccine passports were mooted previously, but now with the co-leaders in government they will be expected to back the plan.

Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “If Patrick Harvie doesn’t stand up to the SNP on this important issue he will be pushed around for the rest of the parliament.

“The coalition government is crossing a line. To move from the state encouraging people to get vaccinated to compelling them to do so is a major step.”

Speaking on Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon said the government has decided that “limited use of vaccine certification could help to control the spread of the virus as we head into autumn and winter.”

When quizzed about whether all ministers would be expected to back the proposals at first minister’s questions on Thursday, she said: “All ministers - all 29 hard-working, dedicated ministers - are bound by collective responsibility under the ministerial code.”

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