AS I’m writing this, we are about to enter our sixth weekend under lockdown. In my experience, it’s getting a bit easier in some ways and more difficult in others. But the weekends are the hardest.

You’re maybe feeling your resolve waver a bit and thinking: “Ach, I’ll just go see such and such and keep my distance, I’ve been following all the rules for weeks and so have they so there’s no harm in it, and it’ll just be the one visit then I’ll go back to following the guidance after.”

I understand. I’ve had those thoughts myself. But we cannot start flouting the rules now. This period is crucial. We’re starting to see the positive effects of the difficulty we’re all putting ourselves through, and it’s critical that we don’t undo it all by taking unnecessary risks.

The First Minister talked at length about this during her daily briefing on Thursday, and mentioned specifically that car and public transport use is starting to creep back up.

The only way we move into the next phase of this, where we enter our new new normal and start to get a semblance of our old way of life back, is to keep that crucial R-number below one.

The margins for that number are so slim, you only have to look over to Germany as they loosen their lockdown to see how quickly that number can start to rise again.

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it has reached its testing capacity goal of 3500 tests per day and is continuing to increase this number.

This work is critical for moving forward out of lockdown and should give us all hope for the future, but we will only get there if we continue to stay home and save lives. Thank you.

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On the subject of moving forward to a new normal, it is crystal clear that the economic impact of this health crisis is going to be severe. Already companies and economies are reporting massive reductions in performance as bad or worse than the 2008 economic crisis.

For various reasons, including deregulation of markets, overwhelming greed from the 1%, governments choosing to give tax cuts to corporations while skinning the worst off to pay for the economic impact of the mistakes of the richest, the Eurozone crisis in 2009 and more, we hadn’t actually fully recovered from the 2008 crash. People had seen their wages squeezed for a decade, social security had been cut to the bone and services were underfunded.

As this crisis has spread across the country, and our lives have changed in ways we would not have dared imagine in recent years, we’ve witnessed governments take actions that we also would never have imagined. The UK Government should be commended for stepping in to cover wages as businesses are forced to close, and they should be commended for making support available to businesses so they can essentially freeze in place until such time as the economy can re-open.

The National: Chancellor Rishi Sunak's job retention scheme is flawedChancellor Rishi Sunak's job retention scheme is flawed

But, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – the system that allows employers to claim up to 80% of furloughed staff’s wages – has been flawed. It has left some people anxious and worried about whether they would receive their wages. In the first couple of weeks after the scheme was announced I had so many constituents contact me concerned that they wouldn’t receive a wage because they had recently changed jobs. The dates that caused this loophole have been changed, but there are still some stuck in limbo.

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At the outset of the crisis my SNP colleagues and I called for the introduction of universal basic income (UBI). This is the idea that you pay everyone a basic amount to ensure they can afford to house, heat and feed themselves.

It’s an idea that’s had a lot of chatter around it in recent years, as artificial intelligence has grown in ability and threatens many jobs in the future. But the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted just how important enabling that basic security for people is.

There is a massive toll on everyone’s mental health from lockdown, and that is compounded if you aren’t sure if you’re going to be able to afford to pay the bills or not.

Instead of setting up complex schemes to support employees and the self-employed, the UK Government could have committed to implementing a form of UBI. Frankly, they should have, and still should. But that’s likely not going to happen at this late stage as many of the announced schemes go live.

It’s not too late or too early to discuss UBI’s place in our economic recovery, however.

As I said previously, people in Scotland and the rest of the UK have already had their incomes squeezed to breaking points, and the UK Government cannot squeeze them further.

More austerity is clearly not the way to get ourselves out of this economic rut.

This time, as our economy recovers, we must protect the worst off, and ask the richest to do more.