The SNP has challenged the Treasury to match the Scottish Government’s package of support announced to tackle the Omicron variant – which would also then generate more funding for Scotland at this crucial moment.
In Scotland, the Government set out a £375 million package to help businesses impacted by the latest protective measures.
Meanwhile, the Treasury announced a £1 billion package which has been met with criticism and dismay from business leaders as falling short of the support needed.
A breakdown of the funding reveals that if the Scottish Government’s £375 million support package was replicated by the UK government it would increase the funds available to support businesses from £1 billion to £4.6 billion.
The figures also highlight that the Scottish Government’s package amounts to around £69 per head, while the Treasury’s package only totals £15 per head.
Separately, business groups also voiced concerns over Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement –
The chief executive of BWH Hotel Group Great Britain, told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “It’s like a dud cracker on Christmas Day.
The support is always welcome but it just doesn’t go far enough to help us with the problems that we’re going through at the moment with the cancellations and the impact on the finances of hotels and hospitality…”
The TUC’s General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said:
“Workers need help now to pay their bills.
“But the economic support measures announced today are not conditional on employers keeping workers on and covering their wages.
“And they do nothing to fix the gaping holes in our sick pay system…The Government has abandoned hospitality, arts and leisure staff…”
And, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) criticised the Chancellor’s measures as being “a woefully inadequate response to the reality of the position.”
Commenting, the SNP’s Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP said:
“The latest protective measures to tackle the Omicron variant are understandably challenging, but they are necessary in this difficult moment in the pandemic.
“The Scottish Government is taking all the steps it can within its powers to protect lives and the NHS and to support business – with its recent announcement of a £375 million package of support to help sectors, despite Treasury rules meaning it can’t borrow money.
“Meanwhile, it’s clear that the Treasury’s package of measures falls well short of the funding needed at this vital time to help businesses and workers navigate through the crisis.
“With a comparable breakdown of the funding revealing that if the Scottish Government’s package was replicated by the UK government it would total £4.6 billion – drastically overshadowing the Treasury’s funding – it’s clear that the Chancellor must step up to the scale of the challenge facing us and bring forward a meaningful package of measures that delivers support to businesses and workers.
“Throughout this pandemic, there have been far too many moments where the UK government has failed to act properly – including prematurely winding down Covid income support schemes.
“The UK government cannot keep repeating the same mistakes.”