There’s an old saying: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

Since Covid-19 was unleashed upon the world, I’d say the part in the middle about all being pleased no longer bears scrutiny.

The phrase came to mind thinking about the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s delivery of the spending review last week. There must have been some people somewhere who were pleased, but for the most part it was text-book proof of how you can’t please everyone.

He set expectations low by painting a gloomy picture. The coronavirus and measures to prevent it has caused the economy to shrink at a rate not seen for 300 years, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). Once we return to more normal (or perhaps less weird) times, the economy can be expected to rebound but will still be subject to “long term scarring” as the Chancellor so eloquently put it. In human terms, the numbers mean unemployment is expected to reach 7.5 per cent next spring. That’s 2.6 million people out of work and all the distress that brings for their families.

There were some welcome mitigations. The Treasury will allocate an additional £38 billion for public services to continue to fight the pandemic this year, and a further £55bn next year, including £2.6bn for the devolved administrations. This is a start, although there will be need for flexibility. The funding allocation suggests that the pandemic will be less expensive to manage next year which we must hope is true. It is encouraging that the Government is considering options for further rates relief for businesses affected by Covid-19 but this should be confirmed sooner rather than later. The Government will need to maintain an open mind on providing further support to businesses struggling to survive.

The launch of a UK infrastructure strategy is another useful first step in overcoming the longstanding paucity in infrastructure investment in the UK. The UK and Scotland have committed to transition the economy to produce net zero emissions, which will require ambitious and sustained action to transform our transport, energy and digital networks. The proposed UK infrastructure bank should be the mechanism to significantly aid the transition and should work in partnership with the £2bn Scottish National Investment Bank. It’s time to show us the money to ensure these vehicles have the necessary capital base to leverage the private sector finance needed to deliver these necessarily transformational levels of infrastructure investment. We have certainly spent long enough discussing about infrastructure projects – it’s now time to focus on delivery.

The launch of a UK Shared Prosperity Fund replacing European Union structural funding is long-overdue but significant unanswered questions remain. Businesses now require more detail on how the scheme will operate and how the new fund will avoid damaging cliff edges in existing economic development and business support schemes.

The Government must work closely with business on the determining key features of the new fund, including a commitment to maximise local autonomy, business voice and economic growth. The Scottish Chamber network across the UK stands ready to address these challenges.

There remain some worrying gaps in the spending review that mean the Chancellor’s largess could fall short of a sufficient response to the pandemic to prevent permanent damage to the economy, or it fails to offer support to build back better. As we look to rebuild and renew local and national economies, businesses need significant incentives for investment in people, productivity and the planet.

Liz Cameron is chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce