TALK RADIO - FURLOUGH: 2nd November 2020
For months and months, we have called for furlough to be extended, and made available when required. The Tory Government has repeatedly refused this. There are so many jobs which depend upon it. Other countries have taken a much more extended and planned approach to furlough, and livelihoods depend upon it, so we have continued to call for the UK Government to do the same.
If 80% furlough is good enough for one part of the UK, it must be available to any part that needs it, when it's needed, to protect livelihoods and keep us safe. The chopping and changing by the UK Government recently has allowed many more jobs to be lost, and the necessity for Scotland - and the other devolved nations - to have furlough available when we need it in Scotland, rather than when it is required in England, could not be clearer.
This afternoon, SNP MP after SNP MP, as well as MPs from Wales and Northern Ireland, stood up in the Commons making this call yet again. They recieved what I can only describe as the biggest bunch of nothing I have ever heard by way of responses. Ian Blackford appeared to have recieved both a yes and a no in answer to his question, which beggars belief, and is utterly unacceptable. When a Tory MP finally asked the same question he perhaps - nothing is ever clear with this Prime Minister - got the confirmation we have been pushing for over all these months, and which my colleagues had repeatedly asked about. This kind of politicshas absolutely no place in a pandemic. Shame on the Prime Minister.
And has he finally u-turned or not? Who knows. To add yet more confusion to the mix - it's now being reported that "Whitehall Sources" are less than clear on what the situation is. They should join the club, because the Scottish Government, like Wales and Northern Ireland, have yet again been left out of the loop, so we actually do not know what the situation is. This really matters, and the details will be critical. Perhaps instead of this studied vagueness, the Tories might better focus on the impact on jobs, and get a grip of this situation.
I said some of this to Dan Wootton on Talk Radio earlier.