NICOLA Sturgeon has responded to Douglas Ross MP’s questioning of her decision to close all non-essential construction sites in Scotland.
The Moray MP queried why it is possible for construction firms to continue with their operations in England, but not in Scotland. He added that Public Health England has ruled that it is ‘practical’ to self isolate on site.
In the first minister’s media briefing (31 March), she responded, “You will have these differences in opinion from time to time, and I’m absolutely clear that I don’t want to be in the position of criticising the decisions and judgements that other leaders are taking – we are all trying to do the very best for the people we serve in exceptionally difficult circumstances.
“My judgement on construction is that, apart from construction that is really essential, for example, construction work on hospitals or construction work that is required to help us in the fight against corona virus, it is not clear to me that non-essential construction can continue as normal in a way that protects people’s health – in other words, with safe social distancing measures being applied and therefore if I can’t be sure of that, then the judgement I take is a precautionary one.
“I don’t underestimate the damage to the economy that’s been done right now.
“I don’t underestimate the impact of restricting people’s liberties in the way that we are doing right now, but all of these things, however difficult, we can repair and get back to normal.
“What we can’t do is bring people back to life. And that’s why the absolute focus here must be on reducing, as far as we possibly can, the numbers of people who die from this virus.”