Time and time again during this pandemic, the UK Government has stepped up to provide a safety net of financial support.
Nearly one million jobs were protected by the HMRC furlough scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
More than 60,000 businesses have accessed loans worth a total of £2.4billion, while the Scottish Government has had billions in extra funding.
Last month, the Chancellor announced a Winter Economy Plan which included the Job Support Scheme to encourage firms to retain staff part-time to avoid lay-offs.
And now Rishi Sunak has gone further.
Given the extent to which the virus is spreading again all over the country, it was clear that people and businesses will need more help over the winter months.
In Scotland, many firms have already been shut down.
Pubs and restaurants across the Central Belt have had to close their doors, while more restrictions have been applied to trading in the whole of the country.
Licensed premises in the north-east can no longer serve alcohol indoors, for example, which will make it very difficult for many venues to operate at all
The latest announcement from the Chancellor will allow companies across the UK that are forced to close by law to claim back two thirds of the salary of all their workers.
It will also be open to those businesses that have been unable to trade since March.
Mr Sunak also announced an increase in cash grants available to affected firms in England. That will mean another uplift of £700million in funding for the Scottish Government, which can decide to do something similar if it wishes to do so.
All these measures will come as a relief to those firms that have already been asked to shut their doors.
They were left reeling by Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement last week – which was made without any consultation with businesses or any explanation as to how they might access financial support or how long it would take to reach them
In contrast, the Chancellor made this announcement on funding prior to expected decisions on closing hospitality in hotspots in England this week.
It at least provides some clarity to those that will be affected. They will know that if they are asked to close then the financial support will be there.
These steps have been taken because there has been a clear uptick in cases in many different parts of the UK.
Here in Scotland, a vast majority of new cases are in the Central Belt.
In contrast, the spread in Grampian does not seem nearly as bad. However, we know from previous experience that this virus can move very quickly through the population.
As always, the key is to strike a balance between protecting public health and the economy.
I am not convinced that Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to impose blanket restrictions across the whole of Scotland is required at this time.
A targeted approach, focusing on the areas with high levels of transmission – which right now in Scotland means the Central Belt – would be a better approach.
But one thing we have learned is that infection rates can increase rapidly - so I encourage everyone to remember to keep to the rules to protect themselves and each other.
- Please note that I am still holding telephone surgeries during the pandemic. Email firstname.lastname@example.org contact my office in Banff to arrange.