THE SCOTTISH Government should set out trigger points in the vaccination programme as to when lockdown restrictions can be eased, the Conservatives have suggested.

Douglas Ross has set out his party’s lockdown exit strategy ahead of Nicola Sturgeon laying out her blueprint for easing the lockdown next week.

Mr Ross has called for clarity from ministers over whether the strategy will shift back to a tiered regional model as the national restrictions are lifted.

He has also called on the First Minister to set out “what is likely to be the new longer-term restrictions that our economy and society will face” even when the vaccination programme has been completed in order to give businesses certainty over the future.

The document drawn up by the Scottish Conservatives contains a series of other detailed demands “working with rather than against business” as restrictions are lifted.

The party's recommendations include creating a coronavirus business advisory council and a minimum one-week adaptation period between announcements and changing restrictions.

Business red tape should be slashed by replacing 44 existing Covid support schemes with a single fund that makes decisions within 10 days after traders have faced long delays in entitled financial support reaching them.

READ MORE: Businesses yet to receive Covid support forced to wait months

Ahead of Tuesday’s announcement by the First Minister, Mr Ross has insisted that the strategy “needs to set out the sequencing for lifting restrictions”, adding that “a new routemap needs to set out the stages of vaccination progress at which certain restrictions can be eased, depending on factors”.

Mr Ross said: “After so much sacrifice, pain and loss, people deserve hope for the future.

“So instead of obsessively pushing a damaging and divisive independence referendum this year, the SNP must focus on jobs and the economy.

“My blueprint does exactly that. The single most important thing that government can give to businesses and individuals is certainty going forward.”

He added: “There needs to be a complete approach to gradually removing restrictions and ending the lockdown. One key question is whether there will be a local or national approach.

“While we rightly celebrate the world-beating UK and Scottish vaccination programme, now is the time to focus on the future.

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“Our measures have one central purpose — to ensure Scotland’s economy can emerge stronger than before lockdown.

“People also need to know what the ‘new normal’ will look like in respect of schooling, the workplace, leisure and travel.

“They are also tired of SNP spin and deserve to know exactly how and why decisions will be reached.

“It’s fantastic that more than 1.3 million Scots have received their first vaccine but they also need to know how vaccination progress will be linked to restrictions being eased.”

In the document, the party warns “we need to establish whether the order of priority for easing restrictions will remain the same this year as was the case last year”, stressing that comments from the Scottish Government “have not been definitive”.

The party has called for clarity over “whether a local approach is still viable in the face of new strains of the virus”, adding that “given how much more transmissible the new strains can be, we need to consider if it is even possible to prevent the virus quickly spreading from areas of high prevalence to those of low prevalence”.

Mr Ross has called for a “full plan for easing restrictions to end the second lockdown” or risk “a piecemeal and speculative approach” that he claims “stops businesses and individuals from forward planning” and “ensuring continued public support for restrictions”.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “Our revised strategic framework for easing Covid-19 restrictions will be published shortly.

“It will set out how we will use and balance all the tools at our disposal – restrictions and advice, vaccination, test and protect, and travel restrictions – to restore, on a phased basis, greater normality to our everyday lives.”