MD calls for cross-border consistency in Covid rules

THE managing director of a company which operates across the Scottish and English border has called for consistency in the Covid-19 rules between the two countries.

Eddie Black, who runs Eco Group, a solutions company based in Dumfries and Galloway with operations on both sides of the border, said businesses faced additional challenges operating under different guidance in different parts of the UK.

The call came as more than two million people are set to be placed under Scotland's toughest Covid lockdown restrictions from Friday.

Eddie Black

The move will see level four rules imposed in 11 council areas across western and central Scotland.

They will be imposed in East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire, North and South Lanarkshire, East and South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

The level four restrictions, which will mean non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants and gyms will have to close, will remain in place until December 11.

England is in a national lockdown until December 2.

Operating his business out of Annan, which is in Tier 2 level restrictions, from where Eco serves the whole of the UK, Eddie said: “We are across the border every day of the week, 24 hours a day, and we also have people deployed throughout the UK. Manufacturing and construction are still ongoing and we operate in these industries so we have to go to work.

“If the same rules applied across the UK, at least there would be clarity and consistency.

When you live and work on the border, and there are different rules, you could be breaking the rules on one side or the other.”

The current Scottish Government guidance is that people avoid any unnecessary travel between Scotland and England.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she appreciated the difficulties that businesses faced but said the Scottish Government was taking a targeted and proportionate approach.

Eco, which employs more than 50 staff, operates across a range of sectors to deliver multiple products and services for commercial, industrial, public sector and residential customers.

The company has been praised for its rapid response to support the health sector during the pandemic, including delivering more than one million items of PPE to care homes across the UK in seven days.

It has also continued to work on completing its own state-of-the-art 3,000-square-metre headquarters in Annan, due to open in early 2021.

As well as its base in Annan, Eco owns Ghyll House Upholstery and Design, which is based at Mealsgate, near Cockermouth, in Cumbria.