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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Tories Must Deliver Meaningful Support After Empty Statement

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) fails to follow through on promises £375 Million for Scottish Businesses.

The Chancellor has been criticised for his ‘empty’ statement, which failed to fill gaps in support, strengthen welfare protections, and deliver a meaningful fiscal stimulus package for Scotland – including the £375 million promised to Scottish businesses, then rescinded by the UK government.

Alison Thewliss MP, the SNP’s Shadow Chancellor, has renewed calls for Rishi Sunak to ‘step up or step down’ and demanded he take the following action:

–       Commit to extending the furlough scheme for as long as necessary

–       Make the Universal Credit £20 uplift permanent and extend it to legacy benefits

–       Bring in a financial package for the 3 million who have been excluded from available coronavirus support since the pandemic began, such as freelancers and the self-employed

–       Follow through on the additional £375 million – Barnett consequentials from the £9,000 each English business will still receive – that was promised to Scottish businesses

The Glasgow Central MP has said it is a disgrace that the Tory government back-tracked on the £375 million promised to Scottish businesses on 6 January – and that it speaks volumes of the Tories’ contempt for Scotland.

The money was pulled despite the Scottish Tory leader, Douglas Ross MP, claiming the survival of many Scottish businesses depended on receiving the additional funding immediately.

The SNP has also repeated calls for the UK government to provide Scotland with compensation to mitigate the harm caused by Brexit – which it didn’t vote for – and to reverse plans to cut benefits for NHS and Social Care workers in receipt of the Scottish Government’s ‘Thank You’ payment, after figures revealed more than ninety per cent could be taken in tax from workers.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“There was so little that was new in this economic update that it can only be described as empty.

“This is deeply concerning as we start to see the devastating economic consequences of this Tory hard Brexit unfold, on top of the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and a decade of austerity.

“Millions across Scotland and the UK are still left without vital support, and many are facing uncertainty as to whether they can rely on furlough if restrictions continue, or if the Universal Credit increase will continue beyond April.

“At the same time, Scottish businesses are left without the £375 million they were promised – money that is desperately needed at this critical time.

“It seems the Chancellor has decided – after backtracking and editing the press release overnight – that Scotland’s businesses are not entitled to the same financial support from the UK Government as English businesses.

“This is despite the fact people in Scotland pay tax like the rest of the UK.

“With businesses, industries and communities across Scotland being hit by Coronavirus and the rising costs of Brexit, the Chancellor must deliver the scale of investment needed to protect jobs and livelihoods, keep businesses afloat and kickstart the economy.

“This must include the missing £375 million promised to Scottish businesses, support for the 3 million excluded, and a multi-billion-pound package of compensation to Scotland to mitigate the damage caused by a Brexit it didn’t vote for.

“The Tories must also commit to extending furlough for as long as necessary and heed calls from the SNP and anti-poverty organisations across the UK to make the £20 boost to Universal Credit permanent, as well as extend it to legacy benefits.

“Scotland can make different choices for an investment led recovery, which protects jobs – but only if we have the powers and funds required.

“It is clear that can only be achieved by being an independent country inside the EU.”

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