If you’ve spent the last year putting absolutely everything into keeping your business afloat, you’d be forgiven for feeling dispirited by last week’s long-range lockdown roadmap.

If you’d done everything you’d been told to, exhausted your reserves, taken on more debt, deferred value-added tax bills and much more, another six weeks of stay-at-home lockdown doesn’t exactly sound like light at the end of the tunnel.

Neither does the prospect of returning to Level 3 restrictions at the back end of April feel like a major prize. These are, after all, the same restrictions under which all sorts of businesses still found it impossible to trade viably last year.

Those expressing frustration at these indicative dates and the generous gaps between them must not, it should be underlined, be mistaken for irresponsible advocates of a hasty rush to reopen. No one wants to go back to square one – and Lockdown III would finish us off.

But the reality is that we’re running out of road. Right now, businesses up and down Scotland are taking some very difficult decisions in very difficult circumstances. Over half of small business owners are worried about surviving the next few months.

The consequences of closing a business you’ve spent years building up are profound and far-reaching. To avoid this last resort, therefore, businesses need a recovery roadmap that’s less like an Ordnance Survey sheet and more like the A-to-Z.

Businesses need reliable information on which to base their plans for the rest of the year. They need more detail on what sort of activity will be allowed and when. We have to be sure that, if the data allow, the current cautious timetable will be accelerated. We need some clarity on travel restrictions – especially within the country, to let domestic holidaymakers book with confidence and avoid their custom going to other parts of the UK that have clearer rules.

But not all of the responsibility for sorting this out can be laid at the Scottish Government’s door. Yes, it’s their job to find ways of pulling the finishing line closer and properly marking the route, but the UK Government also needs to make sure there’s enough fuel in the tank to get us there. So, when the Chancellor delivers his Budget tomorrow, the Prime Minister’s “whatever it takes” pledge should be ringing in his ears.

Businesses need to be reassured that, for as long as government restrictions continue, so will corresponding government support. That means announcements on the extension of furlough and the self-employment income support scheme should be near the top of his list.

Equally, as businesses nervously eye the mountain of debt they’ve built up, the Chancellor needs to think seriously about repayment options. Not just expanding the scope of the “Pay As You Grow” deferment scheme, but looking at converting the debt to a tax liability, which only becomes due when a borrower is back on their feet.

That, though, is only part of the story. If many businesses are only hanging on thanks to these big flagship support schemes, consider those who have been largely overlooked – such as the company directors who have found themselves ineligible for other help. It’s time for this unfairness to be finally addressed with the launch of a specific directors’ income support scheme.

It’s also easier to include those, for example, without premises or in supply chains who have seen their markets collapse, if support measures are built around assessments of lost revenue, rather than, say, commercial property value.

The vaccines give us hope that the end is in sight. Our governments in Westminster and Holyrood need to give us confidence that we’re actually going to see it.

Colin Borland is director of devolved nations for the Federation of Small Businesses