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  • Kirsten

Protect Jobs, Extend The Furlough Scheme



The SNP has said the Tory government must do more to protect jobs - as fears over mass redundancies grow and Tory cuts to the furlough scheme sink in.

With the Chancellor set to visit Scotland today, Ian Blackford MP challenged Rishi Sunak to extend the furlough scheme into 2021 and devolve the financial powers necessary to protect jobs and secure a strong recovery in Scotland.

The SNP Westminster Leader said Tory cuts to the furlough scheme in the middle of a global pandemic, when many sectors aren't able to operate fully or at all, are a "grave mistake" that will cause thousands more job losses in Scotland and across the UK - and said the Tory government must act or give Scotland the powers to get on with the job.

It comes as around 10,000 job losses were announced this week in leading companies including WH Smiths, Pizza Express, Hays Travel, Dixons Carphone, M&Co, LGH, DW Sports, Aecom, Prestwick Airport, William Hill, and Sodexo.

Last month, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) warned UK unemployment could surpass the peaks of the 1980s after weaker than expected economic growth, and the UK manufacturing sector warned of a "jobs bloodbath" in the autumn.

Analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found the UK economy is 24.5% smaller than it was in February - with 650,000 fewer people employed. Separately, the British Chambers of Commerce quarterly recruitment outlook revealed almost a third (29 per cent) of firms expect to axe jobs over the third quarter - a record high.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:

"The Tory government isn't taking the threat to jobs seriously enough - and as a result thousands of people could lose their jobs unnecessarily.

"Cutting the furlough scheme prematurely is a grave mistake. By removing this crucial support in the middle of a global pandemic, and withholding the financial powers Scotland needs for a strong recovery, the Tories are increasing the risk of mass redundancies.

"Businesses, trade unions and economic experts are warning that too little is being done to protect jobs. I urge the Chancellor to think again, extend the furlough scheme into 2021 and devolve the powers Scotland needs to respond to this unprecedented crisis.

"Without these powers Scotland will be left with one hand tied behind its back - unable to stem the tide of job losses or prevent good businesses going under. Other countries are taking action for an investment-led recovery but yet again Scotland is being held back by Westminster.

"We cannot afford a repeat of the Tory failure of the 1980s - where people were left on the scrap heap and soaring unemployment left deep scars on Scotland's communities. If Westminster won't act - it must devolve the powers so Scotland can get on with the job.

"With the threat of Brexit and Westminster inaction growing, it is clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect Scotland's interests is to become an independent country."


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