Nicola Sturgeon blasts Rishi Sunak over ‘intolerable and unacceptable’ lack of support for Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon has blasted Rishi Sunak over an “intolerable and unacceptable” lack of support for Scotland.
The First Minister today hit out at the UK Chancellor after he announced new grants for businesses and an extension of the job support scheme, but failed to hand Scotland any cash upfront.
Ms Sturgeon has this evening delivered a furious response to the announcement, claiming the plans are “unfair” on those north of the Border.
She tweeted: “The Chancellor has told the Scottish Government that today's announcements won’t deliver any upfront extra cash for Scotland beyond the (welcome) £700m announced recently - & he won’t confirm the range of extra spending (beyond business support) that it’s expected to pay for or for how long.
“Businesses in England have been given, rightly, an open ended commitment to support for as long as needed.
“And the Scottish Government will be expected to match that for Scottish businesses, with no confirmation that the money will be there to pay for it (& no borrowing powers to raise it).
“It is an intolerable and unacceptable position - and deeply unfair to Scottish businesses who deserve the same open ended commitment given to counterparts in England.”
Mr Sunak had earlier unveiled new monthly support for firms in tier two areas in England, which will apply to any impacted hospitality, accommodation and leisure premises.
He also revealed an expansion the Job Support Scheme, with employees now only needing to work one day a week to be eligible.
Under the previous plan, employees had to work a minimum of 33 per cent of their hours to be eligible, while businesses paid a third of the wages.
Now employees will also get full pay for hours they do work.
Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes demanded more money immediately.
She said: “The Chancellor’s written a blank cheque for business support grants in England, but refuses to do the same for Scotland.
“We are being kept in the dark on future funding and denied the ability to borrow if we need to – and it is utterly wrong for Scottish business to not have the same level of certainty on financial support that is available to businesses in England.
“That is why it is important that the Scottish Government can respond at pace to business need and I am concerned that the Chancellor made clear today that the recent support to businesses in England will not generate further consequential funding for Scotland.
“The £700m announced two weeks ago, which is meant to cover all our additional funding pressures for the final six months of the year, is clearly insufficient to mitigate the impact on our economy and public services.”
The UK Government has already provided £7.2 billion in support due to coronavirus, and it is expected more funding will follow after today’s announcement.
Mr Sunak’s measures had been praised by leader of the Scottish Tories, Douglas Ross.
Mr Ross said: “With this latest increase in financial support, he has gone the extra mile to protect Scottish jobs and businesses.
“This new, blockbuster support is a major upgrade that shows the UK Government will take decisive action to protect Scottish jobs wherever necessary.”
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