IT IS INCREASINGLY clear that it is much easier to agree to lock everything down that to open things back up.

At the start pandemic, there was a clear consensus among all four UK governments that we should lock down but, since then, Scotland's approach in particular has been diverging from the rest of the UK.

Despite the number of new Scottish coronavirus cases being low, relative to parts of England and Wales; Scotland's path out of lockdown seems to be a much longer one.

In almost every case, restrictions are being lifted two or three weeks later than in England. And this isn't just about not being able to go to the pub or on holiday. This delay will have a profound effect on businesses that are already struggling.

Take the hospitality and tourism sector, for example. The first minister has announced that it "could" reopen on July 15, but this is two weeks after the definite date for other parts of the UK.

This could drive business to other parts of the UK, as people get the first chance to start taking holidays again, which could in-turn potentially cost the Scottish sector millions of pounds.

In a seasonal industry that has already lost much of its trade this year, every day really does count.

I do not think it is possible to put it any more succinctly than how Ruth Davidson did several weeks ago, in that watching Nicola Sturgeon: "Was a little like watching TV on one of those plus-one channels," she said. "It was the same stuff, just a fortnight later…"

The first minister's decisions have nothing to do with what is best for Scotland – and certainly not what is best for our economy. Her decisions are solely based only on what she thinks benefits herself politically.

The Scottish Government's biggest shambles of late (and there are a lot to choose from) has been the handling of schools. Just over a week ago, under instruction from the government, local councils were announcing their plans for blended learning, i.e., a combination of classroom lessons with virtual learning from home. This meant that some pupils might only be in school for one day a week.

These plans drew criticism from parents, experts and MSPs from right across the political spectrum. Missing such a significant amount of schooling can have an extremely detrimental effect on children's development, which could very much hold them back in life for many years to come.

And the children most likely to be worst affected by such a plan would be those from the poorest and most disadvantaged backgrounds.

This is completely unacceptable.

The Scottish Conservatives launched a national campaign to "Open our Schools" and encouraged parents to make their views known. We also put pressure on the government to make a statement on these blended learning plans.

The statement made by the education secretary was, in absolute fact, a U-turn. He announced that it was now the government's intention that schools would open fully in August. This is a welcome change of approach.

The SNP needs to understand the serious damage that their slow lifting of restrictions is doing to our economy and people in Scotland. So let us hope they have now got the message.