THE Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has joined a call for the UK Government to set out as soon as possible a plan to open up the UK to its trading partners.

It is among more than 20 UK organisations, including Tourism Alliance, UK Hospitality and Universities UK, which have written to the Home, Foreign and Transport Secretaries, with SCC director and chief executive Dr Liz Cameron one of the signatories.

The organisations want to see a framework drawn up for establishing travel corridors between the UK and low-risk countries to enable exemptions from the blanket quarantine requirements for UK arrivals and a clear set of risk-based criteria set out so that businesses can start to plan for a controlled re-opening.

They are also calling for a timeline for returning to risk-based travel advice from the Foreign Office, saying the indefinite and indiscriminate advice not to travel overseas prevents businesses and individuals from being able to plan with confidence.

The letter also calls for a comprehensive approach to health screening for arrivals into the UK to help control the virus over the coming months, arguing that this, along with track and trace systems, could support the economic recovery by allowing a controlled lifting of restrictions on movement.

The letter says: “Businesses across the country rely on the UK being connected to the global economy.

“Since March, international travel has slowed to a trickle. To the credit of companies up and down the country, not least in the aviation sector, the movement of essential goods has not been affected.

“However, as we look to recover from the economic shock that Covid-19 has delivered, it will be vital that we start to open the UK up to our trading partners. More than 1.5 million jobs across the UK are supported by air transport and more than 40% of our trade with non-EU countries travels by plane.

There are whole sectors of the UK economy – from SMEs to large employers – that simply won’t recover and thrive without international connections.

“Our manufacturers rely on air connections to export goods; our world-class universities get around £6.9 billion a year from international students; our tourism industry accounts for more than 7% of the UK economy; and much of our hospitality sector relies on international visitors.

“These are some of the UK’s world-beating businesses. We are ready to work with the Government to help ensure that the UK not only recovers from the effects of Covid-19

but goes on to thrive as a global Britain that delivers prosperity and opportunity for people in every nation and region.”

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce is Scotland’s largest business network with more than 12,000 business members, across a network of 30 regional Chambers of Commerce.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has created a Covid-19 Support Hub with access to resources, support and advice.