United Kingdom

Coronavirus Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon unveils FIVE Tier lockdown

Scotland's new 0-4  tier system, how it works:

Nicola Sturgeon laid out plans for a new 0-4 tier lockdown today. Here is how it would work. 

Level 0 

As close to normal as possible. Broadly in line with the situation in Scotland in August when the virus was suppressed but still around. 

At this level people would be able to meet indoors with eight people from three households and most businesses would be open safety measures in place.

Level 1 

Household meetings would reduce to six people from two households but there would still be a reasonable degree of normality overall.

Level 2 

Restrictions broadly similar to those currently in place currently outside Scotland's central belt. It includes  limitations on hospitality and no gatherings inside people's homes.

Level 3

Broadly similar to the tougher restrictions which currently apply across the central belt  - including Glasgow and Edinburgh, with much of hospitality being closed completely. But restaurants would be able to be open 'at least partially'.

Both Levels 2 and 3 are intended to apply for relatively short periods of time to bring transmission under control.

Level 4

This would kick in when 'transmission rates are, or are threatening to become, very high with corresponding pressure on the NHS and perhaps the risk of the NHS being overwhelmed'.

Closer to a full lockdown, with non-essential shops closed. But six people from up two households could still meet outdoors, there would be no limit on outdoor exercise for individuals, manufacturing and construction businesses would stay open with safety measures in place.

Ms Sturgeon added: 'We do not envisage returning to a situation as severe as the first lockdown imposed back in late March.' 

Nicola Sturgeon was accused of using 'manufactured grievances' over coronavirus in her fight for Scottish independence today after she claimed that Scotland could run out of money to prop up businesses without a massive cash injection from Westminster.

Scotland's First Minister lashed out at devolution rules that prevent her Government from borrowing money as she complained that she was forced to go cap-in-hand to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

She made the bitter remarks as she warned that some parts of Scotland - or the whole nation - could be plunged back into a severe lockdown with all but essential shops and schools closed under a new five-tier system.

But critics hit back at her suggestion that the coffers could be empty without more money from the Chancellor.

Scotland has already received £6.5billion from the UK Government in direct response to the coronavirus crisis, more than half of all the Covid-cash handed out to devolved administrations.

The Treasury is understood to have deliberately allocated the money upfront to avoid a cash squeeze. 

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, said: 'Scottish companies are fed up hearing about manufactured grievances. They don't want another pre-fab SNP fight with Rishi Sunak and the UK Government. They need funding, now.

'In the past few weeks, Rishi Sunak has made a further £700 million of support available. The funding is there to protect Scottish jobs and support businesses.

'So my message to the SNP is – stop squabbling and get on with it.'

Businesses in Scotland which face lockdown restrictions will be able to apply for grants on top of those provided by the UK Government's job support scheme.

Grants for £2,000 or £3,000 every four weeks would be available for firms forced to close due to lockdown measures.

Those which can remain open but cannot trade as normal due to restrictions can apply for funding of £1,400 or £2,100 every four weeks, broadly in line with the scheme in England.

But Ms Sturgeon warned the money will run out and called for a 'resolution' from the UK Government.

In a swipe at Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, she demanded the same measures for Scots firms as they unveiled in England yesterday. 

'The Chancellor's commitment for England was open-ended. He will pay whatever the demand from business is for as long as necessary. I think that is right and proper,' she said.

'He is able to do that because he can borrow the money to pay for it. The Scottish government cannot do that so we have to rely on the Chancellor to provide the same funding guarantees to Scottish businesses as he already has for those in England. So far that hasn't been done. 

'Not a single penny of extra funding beyond that already allocated has been guaranteed for Scotland as a result of yesterday's announcement. So while I am not prepared to offer businesses here less funding than their counter parts in England get, I have to be clear on this point

'Without a resolution to the point I have just highlighted, the money that the Scottish government has to pay for this guarantee will eventually run out. 

'When exactly that will happen will of course depend on demand, but it will happen. It is not possible to fund indefinitely demand-led commitments out of a finite budget with no powers to borrow.' 

 The First Minister today unveiled Scotland's new approach today, the highest of which would see the shutters come down once again on the Scottish high street while trying to keep some other businesses going.

Outlining the new Level 0 - 4 system live on television today she held out an olive branch to hospitality businesses who blasted the harsh new restrictions, which would place some level of barre on trading at all levels.

She said while she would listen to arguments about trying to keep some pubs and restaurants open at higher tiers but she would not promise to make changes.

She warned 'it is possible that the whole country could be placed in the same level' and refused to rule out some parts of the country immediately being placed in Level 4. 

The First Minister gave details of the scheme - which is subject to being ratified by the Scottish parliament next week - despite a furious backlash from restaurants and retailers over the prospect of heightened restrictions staying in place indefinitely. 

Nicola Sturgeon (pictured today)gave details of the five-tier scheme despite a furious backlash from restaurants and retailers over the prospect of heightened restrictions staying in place indefinitely

A slidey graphic shows the coronavirus infection rate across Scotland for the week October 5 to 11 

A slidey graphic shows the coronavirus infection rate across Scotland for the week October 12 to 18

Scotland has already received billions from Westminster coffers for coronavirus fight

Scotland has already received more than £6.5billion from the UK Government in direct response to the coronavirus crisis, figures reveal.

That is more than half of all the Covid-cash handed out to devolved administrations to help fend off the worst of the crisis.

And it is on top of UK-wide schemes like the Job Support Scheme that was unveiled by Rishi Sunak last month and revised yesterday to provide more government cash to workers.

According to the most recent figures, in comparison to Scotland's £6.5billion, Wales received £4billion and Northern Ireland £2.2billion.

Additionally the devolved administrations are also receiving over £950 million in the 2020-21 financial year to maintain direct payments to farmers. 

The amount of money is determined by a system called the Barnett Formula

It is a system used by the UK Government to figure out how much funding should be given to the other home nations when it decides to spend more or less on something in England. 

It was devised by the former Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury Joel Barnett back in 1978. 

While it has no standing in law it has now been used by the Treasury for more than 40 years to calculate funding figures. 

It is controversial because hee amount of money handed out to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the form of a block grant from Westminster is calculated based on population and what powers have been devolved Whitehall.

This should mean that in theory spending should go up and down equally.    

But the calculations are complicated and Scotland started with higher spending per head when the formula was first used which means that discrepancy is baked into the system. 

The formula was only ever supposed to be temporary and even its architect said in 2014 that it was 'unfair and should be stopped'.  

In August Tory MPs slammed the 'funding discrepancy' after official statistics showed public spending per person north of the border was almost £2,000 more than the UK average.  

They showed that total public sector expenditure for the benefit of Scotland, including both UK and Scottish government spending, has increased by just over three per cent to £81 billion.

That is equivalent to £14,829 being spent on public services per person in Scotland, some £1,633 per person greater than the UK average. 

Conservative backbenchers in Westminster said that if the SNP government in Holyrood believed in independence then it should refuse to accept English taxpayers 'subsidising their services'. 

They claimed that Nicola Sturgeon and her party 'berate everything that comes out of Westminster - apart from the money'. 

A 'circuit breaker' lockdown has already been in force north of the border for a fortnight, with bars and restaurants restricted from serving alcohol and shut altogether in much of the country. It has been extended until November 2, when the new system comes into operation.

Under the new 0-4 tier system, the restrictions currently in place in the central belt, where pubs are closed, would be Level Three. Under Level Four even non-essential retail shops would close again. But Ms Sturgeon pledged to keep schools open.

Ms Sturgeon said Level One and Level Two are the closest to normal the country can be without effective treatment or a vaccine, while the highest grade would be more similar to a full lockdown. 

The Scottish Retail Consortium said closing non-essential shops in Level Four - the highest tier - will do little to reduce coronavirus rates.

Its director David Lonsdale said: 'We fully support the drive to reduce the R number and to get on top of the current public health situation.

'However we believe any move to close non-essential retailers will have only a very minimal impact on reducing the spread of the virus, whilst carrying very significant economic harms.'

He added: 'Retail has demonstrated that it can operate safely in the current environment and it is notable that there was no spike in infections following the lifting of lockdown on non-essential shops at the end of June.

'Scottish retailers have invested tens of millions of pounds to make stores safe and secure for customers, including Perspex screens, social distancing and additional hygiene measures.

'As such, shops remain a safe space for customers and staff.

'Scottish stores lost £2.4 billion of retail sales over the first seven months of the pandemic and have yet to claw their way back to pre-crisis levels.

'Any attempt to close non-essential stores during the golden Christmas shopping quarter may mean many are unable to reopen, having missed out on this vital trading period.

'It's positive the Government has accepted only in the direst straits should non-essential shops have to close. That decision must weigh up the public health advice which admits to the minimal impact on reducing transmission of coronavirus against the catastrophic effect on those businesses.'

Since October 9, bars and restaurants in five health board areas - Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley - have been forced to close for all but takeaways.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.

In a response to attacks from businesses, Ms Sturgeon said: 'We are publishing this today with an open mind. In the coming days we will listen to views from stakeholders on any suggested changes they might have or how they would like to see the plan implemented.

'As part of that process I will be convening another meeting with the leaders of other parties this afternoon.

'I appreciate many businesses, for completely understandable reasons, would rather not see any restrictions that lead to closure or significant reductions in trade. However I also know you understand why these decisions are necessary and we want to give you an opportunity over the next few days to set out any specific proposals you might have.

'In particular I know that hospitality businesses especially hard hit will want to argue that different types of premises should be open at different levels of interventions.

'I can't promise we will be able to accommodate every request whilst still suppressing the virus but I can promise that we will listen.

'None of us want to be imposing restrictions to business or individuals that are not absolutely necessary.' 

Scotland has recorded 18 deaths from coronavirus and 1,401 positive tests in the past 24 hours.

The First Minister told the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing the death toll under this measure - of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days - has risen to 2,688.

Ms Sturgeon said 54,016 people have now tested positive in Scotland, up from 52,615 the previous day.

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader (left), said: 'Scottish companies are fed up hearing about manufactured grievances. They don't want another pre-fab SNP fight with Rishi Sunak and the UK Government. They need funding, now.

Scotland's Covid-19 infection rate is the LOWEST in the UK, data shows 

Scotland has the lowest weekly coronavirus infection rate per population in the UK, official data shows.

Number-crunching by MailOnline reveals Scotland is currently recording 161.2 cases for every 100,000 people.

The rate has doubled in three weeks, jumping from 77.4 on October 3. But it is only 7.2 per cent higher than the 150.4 figure for last Friday.

Northern Ireland actually has the worst Covid-19 outbreak in Britain, according to Department of Health statistics.

It is currently recording 378.6 cases for every 100,000 people – but the speed of growth is also dropping, having risen by just 2.4 per cent in a week.

Wales' outbreak is growing much quicker, the data suggests. Its current infection rate stands at 206.1 – up 29.5 per cent on last week.

England is also seeing the same growth, increasing by 22.7 per cent from 166.9 last Friday to 204.8 today.

The daily test positivity rate is 8 per cent, down from 9.2 per cent on Thursday.

Of the new cases, 493 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 413 in Lanarkshire, 169 in Lothian, and 117 in Ayrshire and Arran. There are 969 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by 41 in 24 hours. Of these patients, 76 are in intensive care, a rise of two.

Ms Sturgeon has swiped at Boris Johnson for being too timid in setting the rules in England, pointing out that chief medical officer Chris Whitty does not believe the Tier Three curbs are tough enough. 

The move comes after Ms Sturgeon was forced to make a bizarre promise to Scottish children that Santa would still deliver their Christmas presents - after her top medical advisor said hopes of a traditional festive gathering were a 'fiction'. 

The regime is set to be rubber-stamped at Holyrood next week before taking effect.

Speaking ahead of the briefing she said there would be a 'detailed and intensive consultation' on the Tiers: 'Covid-19 continues to have a devastating impact on all of our lives.

'Therefore it is vital now more than ever that we work determinedly, energetically and collaboratively to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level – and keep it there – while we strive to return to a more normal life for as many people as possible.

'But suppressing the virus has to be a collective effort. We need to stick with it, support each other and learn from each other. 

'The more we all do in this moment to follow the rules and drive down the numbers, the more freedoms we can enjoy.' 

Ms Sturgeon has already said the three middle tiers will be broadly similar to the English system, where areas are classed as either 'medium', 'high' or 'very high' risk.

But she insisted another level was needed above those introduced by Mr Johnson. 

'When England published their (system) the chief medical officer in England at the time said he thought the top level was not enough to necessarily, in all circumstances, get the virus down,' she said. 

'So we think we need one above that which is closer to a full lockdown if things got to be that serious.' 

There will also be a lower Tier in Scotland for areas with fewer Covid-19 cases – which national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch suggested would have 'slightly more freedoms than other parts of the country'.

A 'circuit breaker' lockdown has already been in force north of the border for a fortnight, with bars and restaurants restricted from serving alcohol and shut altogether in much of the country

Experts voice shock that Rishi Sunak doesn't KNOW cost of his latest huge coronavirus bailout

Experts voiced shock that Rishi Sunak does not know how much his latest huge coronavirus bailout will cost - as gloomy figures showed the UK economic recovery is slowing.

The respected IFS think-tank said it was 'extraordinary' that the Treasury failed to provide a clear estimate for the huge package unveiled by the Chancellor yesterday.

Mr Sunak has been accused of 'playing catch-up' as he hugely scaled up the support on offer for the hospitality sector and self-employed, with fears renewed lockdowns could destroy millions of jobs.

The impact of the curbs on UK plc was underlined this morning with closely-watched PMI figures putting growth at a four-month low.

Earlier this month, temporary restrictions were brought in across Scotland and, although initially set to end on October 25, these were extended until the new tiered system comes into effect.

Since October 9, bars and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley – have been forced to close for all but takeaways.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas. 

Ms Sturgeon was left scrambling to quell an outcry yesterday after her national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch said families should prepare to see loved ones over Zoom at Christmas because of coronavirus.

Prof Leitch told BBC Scotland that while there may be some 'normality' over Christmas, 'we're not going to have large family groupings with multiple families around, that is fiction for this year'.

After a question about Santas having to use Zoom in their grottos across the country, she turned to the camera and said: 'On Santa, if there are any kids watching: Santa will not be prevented from delivering your presents on Christmas Eve, Santa is a key worker and he has got lots of magic powers that make him safe to do that. 

'If he is having to do Grotto appearances by Zoom, that is to keep you safe, it is not because he is at any risk. Santa will be delivering presents across the world as normal.' 

Alcohol IS essential, but hairdryers aren't: Welsh ministers flounder as they try to defend 'power mad' Mark Drakeford's new 'trolley police' as he orders supermarkets to sell only 'essential goods' when 17-day 'fire break' lockdown starts in Wales TODAY

Welsh ministers have floundered as they desperately tried to defend a ban on shops selling 'non-essential' goods during a 'firebreak' lockdown starting tonight.

Health minister Vaughan Gething made clear alcohol does count as a key item under the confusing new rules coming into force from 6pm - but insisted hair dryers do not. 

He also conceded that a 'line by line' list of what can be sold would be 'unusable', saying they were hoping retailers will have a 'grown up understanding'.   

The scramble came after First Minister Mark Drakeford declared that stores will be unable to sell items such as clothes during the 17-day squeeze starting this evening.

There are fears it will mean a return to the scenes witnessed at the beginning of the pandemic when there were rows over the contents of people's shopping trolleys. 

Many retailers will be forced to shut altogether during the 'firebreak' lockdown, but food shops and pharmacies can stay open.

During a bruising interview with Kay Burley on Sky News, Mr Gething said the Welsh government was producing 'categories' that are allowed to be sold.

'A supermarket selling clothes isn't essential... We are looking to have a grown up understanding with them about what they can do so they go ahead and do that.' 

He added: 'We don't want to get into a line by line going through thousands of of product items. That would be unusable from their point of view and ours,' he said. 

Burley asked whether the situation meant alcohol is essential but a hair dryer is not.

'Well look, food and drink are items that we had through the first period of the pandemic, they are available everywhere,' Mr Gething replied.

When the presenter insisted, 'Trust me, my hair dryer is essential', Mr Gething responded: 'No it isn't, Kay.'

Burley said: 'Course it is. Look at the state of your hair compared to mine.. I have to dry my hair, you can towel dry yours.'

But Mr Gething replied: 'I don't think that the biggest issue on people's minds in Wales will be whether they can buy a hair dryer for the next two weeks.'

Police forces in the country have not released information on how the crackdown will work, though more details are expected to be revealed later.

The move has sparked anger among opposition figures, with Welsh Conservative Andrew RT Davies tweeting: 'The power is going to their heads'. 

The lockdown is significantly more severe than England's three-tier system, with Wales demanding people stay at home except for limited purposes such as exercise, and ordering the complete closure of pubs, restaurants, hotels and non-essential shops.

A ban on travel to Wales from hotspot areas in England has been in place this week, despite the Police Federation describing it as 'unenforceable'.

By contrast, even in England's strictest Tier Three areas, some social meetings are allowed outdoors and pubs can stay open providing they offer customers a 'substantial meal'. 

As a result, revellers took to the streets of Cardiff city centre last night to enjoy one blast on the town before the new restrictions come into force.

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also wants to take a harsher approach than the PM, with more levels of curbs to tackle the pandemic, though she played down claims from a top adviser that families should prepare to see loved ones over Zoom at Christmas due to the ongoing crisis.   

First Minister Mark Drakeford said it will be 'made clear' to supermarkets that only certain parts of their business will be allowed to open in order to sell essentials

A graph shows how the number of coronavirus cases has risen in Wales since the end of August but there have been fewer in recent days

A graph shows how the number of coronavirus hospitalisations is on the rise in Wales over the last few days, but has not sky-rocketed

A graph shows how the number of coronavirus deaths has risen in Wales since the end of August but there have been fewer in recent days

A group of young people pose in Cardiff last night as they make the most of a night out before the Welsh lockdown

During a bruising interview with Kay Burley on Sky News, Vaughan Gething said the Welsh government was producing 'categories' that are allowed to be sold

Mr Drakeford said it will be 'made clear' to supermarkets that only certain parts of their business will be allowed to open in order to sell essentials.

Retailers have been given mere hours to put together plans for the lockdown, which will run until November 9, as shopkeepers argue the rules do not make sense as customers will already be in their stores to buy the 'essential' items.  

Mr Drakeford made the announcement at a Senedd committee in response to a question from Conservative MS Russell George who said it was 'unfair' to force independent clothing and hardware retailers to close while similar goods were on sale in major supermarkets.

'In the first set of restrictions people were reasonably understanding of the fact that supermarkets didn't close all the things that they may have needed to,' Mr Drakeford said.

'I don't think that people will be as understanding this time and we will be making it clear to supermarkets that they are only able to open those parts of their business that provide essential goods to people and that will not include some of the things that Russell George mentioned which other people are prevented from selling.

'So, we will make sure there is a more level playing field in those next two weeks.'

From Friday all leisure and non-essential retail will be closed and this includes clothes shops, furniture shops and car dealerships. A complete list is yet to be published.

Shops allowed to remain open include supermarkets and other food retailers, pharmacies, banks and post offices.

Young people enjoyed their last chance for a night out for two weeks in Cardiff yesterday evening

A group of young people strike a pose in Cardiff last night before the Welsh lockdown comes into place at 6pm today

Pepole gather outside a pub in Cardiff last night before the Welsh lockdown comes into force this evening

A group of revellers pose on the streets of Cardiff last night before the Welsh lockdown comes into force

Revellers took to the streets of Cardiff last night to enjoy one more night on the town before the new lockdown comes in today

Pubs and bars will close tonight as a result of the Welsh government's 'firebreak' lockdown, so many made sure they were out to enjoy one last night out

Friends sat down for a drink together in Cardiff city centre before the new firebreak lockdown comes into force today

Under the law, firms conducting a business that provides a mixed set of services will be allowed to open if they cease conducting the service that must close.

Mr George said: 'It is deeply concerning that, given we are days away from the lockdown, we are still awaiting the publication of a full list of the types of businesses required to close, as well as guidance on business closures.

'At a time of considerable uncertainty, it is totally unacceptable - whether intentionally or not - to create even more concern and anxiety, which is, sadly, what this Government is succeeding at.

'The people and businesses of Wales deserve better than being left in the dark. For the sake of people's jobs and livelihoods, I urge the Welsh Labour-led Government to heed our calls and publish a list, without delay.'

Andrew RT Davies, the Conservative shadow health minister, tweeted: 'The power is going to their heads.'

He later added: 'Is a flagon of Strongbow deemed essential? What about some much-needed underpants if you're caught short?

'I do hope there is some published guidance on what the Labour commissars deem as essential.'

A group of girls strike a pose in Cardiff as they look to make the most of one last night on the town before the new lockdown

Pubs and restaurants in Cardiff were busy last night before they are ordered to shut down for Wales' new 17-day lockdown

A group of girls pose for a selfie on a night out in Cardiff before Wales goes into a 17-day lockdown from 6pm on Friday

Crowds of people took to the streets in the Welsh capital, just hours before pubs, restaurants and non essential businesses are being ordered to close

With a host of new restrictions and pub closures on the horizon, these youngsters were keen to take advantage of one last night on the town in Cardiff

Drinkers packed into pubs on what is their last night out in the Welsh capital for more than two weeks, due to new rules

Sue Davies, from consumer group Which?, said the announcement would cause 'confusion', particularly among the vulnerable.

'Our own research showed that almost half of those who described themselves as situationally vulnerable in Wales during the previous lockdown had difficulty accessing the food and groceries they needed,' she said.

'The Welsh Government must act now to clarify the situation around what retailers can and cannot sell, and must urgently identify those most in need to give them the support to ensure that no-one who is at risk struggles to access the food and other basics they need.'

The First Minister said he would keep the principality closed down for as short a time as possible, but insisted it was necessary to act as a breaker to a 'rising tide' of cases - despite Wales having a lower rate of infections than England.

The decision to impose a 'short and deep' lockdown until November 9, which echoes national demands made by Sir Keir Starmer and wipes out Halloween and Bonfire Night, sparked a furious political backlash.

Data showed England had a coronavirus infection rate of 166 per 100,000 people in the week of October 14 while Wales had a rate of 163 per 100,000. 

Welsh Tories said it was dooming the country to an endless cycle of two-week lockdowns while Conservative MPs in Westminster said it was a 'blunt instrument' and 'closing down the whole of Wales is disproportionate to the level of risk in some parts of the country'. 

Sara Jones, head of the Welsh Retail Consortium, said: 'Compelling retailers to stop selling certain items, without them being told clearly what is and what isn't permitted to be sold, is ill-conceived and short-sighted.' 

And James Lowman, chief of the Association of Convenience Stores added: 'Retailers must not be forced to stop making products available to customers just because ministers don't think they're essential.' 

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: 'The fire-break is designed to reduce all physical contact between households to an absolute minimum in order to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives.

'We have a small window in which to take this action and there are no easy choices. 

'However, we fully recognise the impact the fire-break will have on businesses and are making a further £300 million available to support them through this difficult period.' 

Supermarkets drafted in police (pictured outside a Lidl) to stamp out ransacking of high-demand items earlier in the pandemic

Police at a Tesco supermarket earlier in the pandemic as tensions boiled over with shoppers desperate to pick up essential goods

At the start of the pandemic, hordes of shoppers descended on supermarkets at the crack of dawn in a desperate bid to stock up after weeks of panic-buying cleared food aisles across the country.

Bacteriologist says restaurant and pub closures across Scotland and Wales are NOT backed by 'sound evidence'

Pub and restaurant closures across Scotland and Wales are not backed by 'sound evidence', according to a top academic. 

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today unveiled her nation's new tiered lockdown approach while Wales begins a 17-day 'firebreak' at 6pm this evening.

The rules mean the shutters are coming down on many sections of the high street in both countries, however Hugh Pennington, professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said he is frustrated by the lack of information being used to support the shutdown.

It comes after hospitality groups signalled their intention to take legal action against the Government.

Pubs in Scotland and Wales (pictured) will have to close as a result of the countries' new lockdown rules

Hospitality groups have signalled their intention to take legal action against the Government

Hugh Pennington, professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, said he is frustrated by the lack of information being used to support the shutdown

The Scottish Beer and Pub Association, The Scottish Licensed Trade Association, UK Hospitality (Scotland), the Scottish Hospitality Group and the Night Time Industries Association Scotland are all pursuing action.

They said there is 'no sound evidence' to support bar and restaurant closures, which were extended yesterday for another week in the Central Belt.

Prof Pennington said he understands the hospitality groups' decision to pursue legal action.

He said: 'I can see where they are coming from.

'I can see why they want to see more data.

'I think those of us who are not involved in the government machine would like to see that data.

'I've been quite frustrated by the low level of information about outbreaks and the evidence that is being used.

'What the hospitality industry want to see is the evidence that is driving the policy.

'There is evidence from the international scene, we know there have been outbreaks in pubs and of course there was the Aberdeen outbreak.

'But what I haven't seen and what the hospitality industry will be very keen to see is if there has been a detailed study of an outbreak.

'One can do quite sophisticated analysis quite quickly and I haven't seen that data.

'And if there is evidence, then the hospitality industry can accept, well that's why you are coming down so heavily on us.'

Nick McKerrell, an expert in licensing law at Glasgow Caledonian University, said a judicial review would be a 'costly and complicated' process.

Mr McKerrell said: 'We are talking £100-£200k which is why pub owners can do it.

'It is about the decision itself and how the Government has arrived at that decision.

'They will argue that the Scottish Government does not have the evidence to back it up.'

Businesses in Scotland which face lockdown restrictions will be able to apply for grants on top of those provided by the UK Government's job support scheme.

Grants for £2,000 or £3,000 every four weeks would be available for firms forced to close due to lockdown measures.

Those which can remain open but cannot trade as normal due to restrictions can apply for funding of £1,400 or £2,100 every four weeks, broadly in line with the scheme in England.

But Ms Sturgeon warned the money will run out and called for a 'resolution' from the UK Government.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: 'We are using the powers we have to help businesses, offering support which now exceeds £2.3 billion, including 100 per cent rates relief for pubs and restaurants for the year and we will extend financial support available to businesses who must stay closed or continue to restrict their trading to cover the additional week of restrictions.

'We are confident the temporary restrictions are essential and proportionate to the risk posed by coronavirus if we are to prevent a return to the dangerous level of infections experienced earlier this year.

Football news:

Dele Ayenugba: they didn't believe in African goalkeepers in Europe, but now a Senegalese is playing in Chelsea, and a Cameroonian is playing in Ajax
Bavaria has watched the midfielder, Inter Aguma. He was included in the list of the best born in 2002
Davies can play in the match Bayern-Lokomotiv, Kimmich-at the beginning of the new year
Barcelona can sign Atalanta midfielder de Ron for free
Hyslop on the racism of Newcastle fans: from 50 yards they insulted me, from 50 feet they sang my name
Hertha celebrated the victory with empty stands: they applauded, talked, Guendouzi even threw a t-shirt
Tuchel does not intend to renew his contract with PSG. He will become a free agent in the summer