The decision to move Fife from Tier 2 to Tier 3 is one that will have caused concern to the region’s business community as well as its residents.

It means that pubs and restaurants, which were already suffering due to the economic impact of Covid, can open indoors to serve food but can’t serve alcohol – and they must close by 6pm. This will undoubtedly curtail their income and could lead to some premises deciding to close if they feel it is not financially worthwhile remaining open.

The move into Tier 3 will also see restrictions on travel which is bound to have a negative impact on businesses throughout Fife. With that in mind, I feel that there are two specific business sectors that need assistance from the Scottish Government.

The first is pubs, some of which in Fife do not have outside space and do not serve food. And yet, pubs in places like Fife were only able to access precisely one half of the financial support available to those in the Central Belt - £2,155 as against £4,310 for pubs in Glasgow or Edinburgh. This is an issue the Scottish Government need to address to ensure a level playing field.

The second sector of businesses which have seen little support are those involved in the wedding industry. Wedding venues have seen virtually their entire business for the year cancelled.

I have heard of weddings which were booked for the Spring of this year being cancelled and then rebooked for the Autumn, cancelled and then rebooked again for Spring 2021, and where brides are now being contacted by venues and told that that date can’t be guaranteed.

It is a disaster for wedding venues who are having to survive on zero income, with no certainty for the future, and the inability to take forward bookings and deposits.

This makes it all the more vital that the SNP Government utilises money provided by the UK Government. As at the start of last month, additional funding by the UK Government was a guaranteed £6.5 billion. And over the last few weeks, we have seen additional funding provided of £1.7 billion.

The SNP Government need to stop sitting on this money and start paying out to those in need, otherwise a health crisis is going to become a jobs catastrophe.

Meanwhile, I was very disappointed to hear of the future of the Burntisland Fabrication (BiFab) being put in doubt following its owners withdrawing a bid for a major contract. DF Barnes had been negotiating to build jackets for wind turbines which would have been installed off Fife. However, the company pulled the plug on the deal, stating that the Scottish Government failed to provide financial guarantees.

The three BiFab yards at Burntisland, Methil and Arnish are mothballed at the present time. The Scottish Government took out a stake in the yards back in April 2018 but has stressed that it was legally barred from guaranteeing contracts while the majority shareholder was not funding the company or the yards.

This announcement was a major blow to Fife, as it had been thought that a contract to make turbine jackets was the best hope for the country’s offshore fabrication sector. It led to understandable anger from politicians and trade unions

It is time that the Scottish Government revealed their renewable energy investment plans for the country, which should bring some clarity to the situation at BiFab.

Murdo Fraser always welcomes feedback from constituents. He can be contacted at The Control Tower, Perth Airport, Scone, PH2 6PL, by email on or by telephone on 01738 553676.