Blackford Warns Against Dangerous Mixed Messages on Coronavirus

The SNP has warned Boris Johnson against “dangerous mixed-messages” on coronavirus public health guidance – as tighter measures are introduced across the four nations of the UK.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s statement, Ian Blackford MP (pictured) said the Tory government must perform an urgent U-turn on plans to axe the furlough scheme next month – warning it would be “unconscionable” to put thousands of jobs at risk during a second wave of the virus.

The SNP Westminster Leader said it was vital that there was clear public health guidance – with concerns over conflicting and inconsistent UK government messages on encouraging millions of people to go back to the office prematurely.

The latest ONS labour force survey revealed UK unemployment has risen to 4.1% and the number of workers in employment has fallen by almost 700,000 since March.

Separately, analysis from the Scottish Government shows extending the furlough scheme by eight months could save around 61,000 jobs in Scotland.

Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:

“With a sharp rise in coronavirus infections, it is vital that the Tory government performs an urgent U-turn on its disastrous plan to axe the furlough scheme next month.

“It would be utterly unconscionable for Boris Johnson to put thousands of people’s jobs at risk during a second wave by withdrawing financial support prematurely.

“Thousands of jobs have already been lost and unemployment is rising.

“The SNP has been warning for months that we need an extension to furlough and the devolution of financial powers to protect jobs – but the UK government has refused to act.

“Ireland, France and Germany have already extended their furlough schemes.

“Scotland shouldn’t have to wait for Westminster to act while people’s livelihoods are on the line.

“It is also vital that the UK government gets a grip of its dangerous mixed-messages on public health guidance.

“People are understandably confused when there have been so many conflicting and inconsistent messages, including encouraging millions to go back to the office prematurely.

“People need clear public health guidance and financial support to protect people’s jobs and lives.

“The UK government must listen to the devolved governments, businesses, trade unions and health experts – and take action before it is too late.”