Coronavirus (COVID-19) Strategic Framework update February 2022: business and regulatory impact assessment

Business and regulatory impact assessment ( (BRIA) covering the Strategic Framework update February 2022.

Competition Assessment

  • Will the measures directly or indirectly limit the number or range of supplies?
  • Will the measures limit the ability of suppliers to compete?
  • Will the measures limit suppliers’ incentive to compete vigorously?
  • Will the measures limit the choices and information available to consumers?

Certification continuing for the foreseeable future could negatively impact Scottish events firms compared to direct competitors in England. With additional costs incurred through certification, larger events could well struggle to break even and might therefore lose out in comparison to smaller venues who can continue to host events under 500 attendees.

Different COVID-19 restrictions in England and Scotland puts Scotland at a disadvantage when bidding to host new conferences and events when competing against England. Some concerts and events planned on an international circuit are being hosted in England due to uncertainty around Scotland’s restrictions. This will have an impact on the future calendar and pipeline of events, particularly because of the long planning times associated with large events.

Stakeholders have noted that Scotland is still seen as restricted compared to England, which has an impact on businesses on the Scotland/England Border.

The wedding industry, for example, has a significant focus in the south west of Scotland, given the Gretna Green tradition.

In 2019, of the 26,007 marriages in Scotland 6,027 (23.2%) were between parties where neither of them was resident in Scotland. 4,944 (19%) of these marriages were between parties who were resident in the rest of the UK[48].

In 2019, of the 26,007 marriages in Scotland 3,401 (13.1%) were in Gretna Green[49].

Another example is in the performing arts. Stakeholders have commented that due to continued restrictions in Scotland there is less producer confidence in bringing theatre productions to Scotland. We have heard that one producer has decided to remove Scotland from the tour programme for their show. In addition, audiences may decide to attend performances or films in England where there are less restrictions than in Scotland.

Measures which restrict small local and independent retails from trading will limit choices in rural areas where access to larger mixed retail is via long car journey. Having independent, local stores facilitates access for people who may find on-line purchasing difficult (older and disabled people are less likely to be online than the wider population).

Hybrid Working

Hybrid working was increasingly becoming the norm across some sectors prior to the pandemic such as information and communication/finance and professional services, where workers would work both in the office and from other locations such as home. However, with home working being the default position if possible for some time some businesses have adapted to become less reliant on having individuals in the office as part of their operations. This may lead to workers choosing to work in sectors/businesses that offer them the flexibility of hybrid working.

An extension of hybrid working/ less reliance on office based staff may have other impacts on Scottish firms competitiveness, both positively and negatively. Hybrid working may allow business to reduce their physical estate where there is less requirement for all staff to be present in the office at the same time. Scottish firms may lose or gain where hybrid working causes customers to realise that they do not need suppliers/ service providers in the same country if there is less office based working. Scottish firms could lose domestically, or gain international customers. It is too early to understand what the impact will be but we will explore emerging views and experiences with the business sector through our working group.

Other ongoing workplace adaptations may also prose costs for businesses, for example ventilation changes. Any such cost on businesses could affect their competitiveness.



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