Publised date : 24 Mar 2020

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, and Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, have tonight swiftly denounced a move by Sports Direct to keep their stores open in the face of an unprecedented nationwide lockdown.

Sports Direct, which operates a store within Mr Swinney and Mr Wishart’s constituency, sent an e-mail to staff tonight in which they claimed to be an essential service, due to their wide range of exercise equipment and clothing available in store.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

“This is an outrageous move that cynically seeks to put profit before people.

“I will be writing directly to Sports Direct management to urge them to voluntarily reverse this decision, and to remind them of their responsibilities to their employees and to the wider public.

“Both the First Minister and the Prime Minister have been absolutely clear that our country, barring legitimately essential services, is fundamentally in lockdown. This is an unprecedented moment and the biggest challenge we have faced in generations.

“To get through the difficult times ahead, we all need to pull together and do our part. To see a business so brazenly try and flout these necessary restrictions is, to put it mildly, incredibly disappointing and frustrating.”

Mr Wishart added:

“'The guidance on what sorts of businesses should remain open is pretty clear and I am of the view that Sports Direct doesn't fit any of the essential criteria

“I am furious that bosses would even consider putting staff and customers at risk in this way. 'I am sure that Sports Direct could continue to supply good via an online only model, but the desire to put profit above public health will not go down well with customers. 

“They should do the right thing and close before they are forced to do so by the authorities."
 

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