Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been in talks with hospitality and entertainment industry leaders about financial support should further coronavirus restrictions be imposed, according to Cabinet office minister Steve Barclay who also told BBC Breakfast the government "will say more on this later today".
When asked if there could be further restrictions introduced before Christmas, Barclay said the best thing people can do is get their booster and be cautious by taking tests and being careful about the people they mix with.
Meanwhile, the UK Government has doubled its financial support to the Scottish government to £440m.
Funds to take precautions
The war chest from the Treasury was bolstered from an initial offering of £220m to Nicola Sturgeon’s government. However, Sturgeon said the original funding, which was announced last week, “was not new or additional”, adding it was £48m less than it had expected to receive.
The Treasury said the extra funds would allow the Scottish government to take the Covid precautions it believes are necessary to keep people safe.
Sunak said: “Following discussions with the devolved administrations, we are now doubling the additional funding available.
“We will continue to listen to and work with the devolved administrations in the face of this serious health crisis to ensure we’re getting the booster to people all over the UK and that people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are supported.”
Support for hospitality businesses
Scottish Conservative shadow cabinet secretary for Covid recovery, Murdo Fraser, told The Herald: “This is very welcome news from the UK Government. This money will provide vital support to Scottish businesses – especially those in the hospitality sector – that have badly hit by the Omicron variant.
“It is now up to the SNP government to get this cash out of the door before Christmas to those struggling businesses who need it most. The SNP Government need to step up and start delivering, especially when there are businesses on the brink of closure and Scottish jobs on the line.”
First minister Sturgeon is expected to make an announcement on possible restrictions for the post-Christmas period, which could see new year celebrations of Hogmanay affected.