By far the most urgent request from our members is for a crisis route map sketching out some expectations for the re-opening of the economy in the weeks and months ahead.

In meetings with Scottish Government ministers last week I heard a phrase repeated in response. The current restrictions on business would last ‘not a moment longer than necessary’.

For businesses whose pre-crisis income has been wiped out, and for whom alternative income sources are hard to find, conversations with banks or other funding sources are very difficult if you have not even a broad idea when income flows might begin again.

The route map members are looking for would explain at what stage the vaccination programme would begin to lower the risks to public health, how the re-opening of the economy might then be tried and how long business support might be expected to remain in place both during and for some time after the lifting of restrictions.

The ministers’ response shows just how reluctant our political leaders are to give a clear answer. “Not a moment longer than necessary” does show a degree of recognition that the economic damage is mounting by the day but clearly doesn’t offer up any hostages to fortune suggesting when we might see decisions made to lift lockdown restrictions.

We all know the definition of ‘necessary’ has been and remains highly fluid.

If there has been a strong lesson learned throughout the crisis it has been that it is far better in managing public opinion for a politician to be pessimistic and then over-deliver than to be bullish and then miss the mark. There is nothing especially novel in that.

But we have to be acutely alert to the insidious, corrosive effects that extended uncertainty is having on our livelihoods. The damage being done to our aviation industry is just one example.

Our airports are not there just to give us options for our next holiday destination but are essential to some of the most important decisions made to grow our economy. Have a close look at the Scottish Government’s fresh inward investment strategy published late last year. It is a well-researched and thoughtful piece of work.

That inward investment is important to the Scottish economy is confirmed with some compelling figures. Fully one third of our jobs, half of our output, two-thirds of our business research and development and over three quarters of our exports come from companies that are owned outside Scotland.

We have an excellent track record of attracting inward investment built up over several decades and it is instructive to examine why. Using criteria from the EY UK Attractiveness Survey, the most important factor is the availability of a skilled local workforce.

That is very well understood in Scottish Government circles and Glasgow and Edinburgh have done especially well in securing investment decisions because we have one of the best educated workforces in Europe.

Much less discussed though is the second most important criterion – the effectiveness of our transport infrastructure. Our airports are especially vital in supporting inward investment. It is hard to believe our financial services or life science industries would be as healthy without robust and growing airports and a reliable international route network. This is one industry that desperately needs a route map.

The framework of crisis restrictions has been changing constantly and both governments’ financial support has been very limited. When Glasgow Airport’s owners AGS Airports Holdings refer to the significant doubts affecting its ability to demonstrate it is a going concern that should be a strong signal that we need a route map urgently.

Stuart Patrick is chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce