The NTIA said that it has along with the other trade bodies, been engaged in dialogue with government over the last three weeks but added that and the dialogue has not in any way resembled a meaningful consultation between government and the sector.
It said that the vaccine passport scheme as currently proposed raises serious issues with definition, market distortion, discrimination, resource allocation and economic impact amongst others, and had Scottish Government been prepared to work with sectoral experts in the earliest stages of policy formulation some of these deep rooted problems may have been avoidable.
NITA said it is also clear that the policy as currently proposed is neither “proportionate”, nor represents the lowest level of intervention possible to achieve the public health imperative, and it is therefore likely to be unlawful.
Mike Grieve, chair NTIA Scotland: “Having disregarded input from NTIA Scotland in discussions since the Vaccine Passport policy was announced, and having forced a rush vote through Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government have now confirmed that this deeply flawed and incoherent policy will come into effect from October 1st, focussing the negative attention on one small subsection of society, and all the economic damage on the sector already most impacted by the pandemic.”
He added that the first minister has stated that the point of the policy was to promote public health imperatives and to stop the further spread of Covid-19 and that the intention to push young people towards vaccination was a secondary consideration.
Grieve said that this “false narrative” is further exacerbated by “regular erroneous comparisons” with other nations programs where the passport system is applied universally to all hospitality and other public settings and where negative tests and natural immunity are also accepted.
Gavin Stevenson, vice-chair NTIA Scotland added: “ We will of course continue to engage with Scottish Government and the joint trade bodies group to try and mitigate damage from this scheme as far as possible in the interim. We also remain more than happy to engage in meaningful consultation with Scottish Government should they be prepared to seek more workable alternatives. However we cannot accept the current proposals which would create conditions for our sector that are unworkable and commercially unviable and will inevitably result in business failures.”
Donald Macleod MBE, MD of Holdfast Entertainment, said: “I am disappointed and very angry that the Scottish Government, despite condemnation from all of Scotland’s hospitality trade bodies an economic forums, including the Scottish Chamber of Commerce have ignored all advice and common sense suggestions and are belligerently proceeding with the introduction of their iniquitous, disproportionate, and discriminatory vaccine passport scheme."