The SNP has blasted the Tories as they refuse to immediately hand over £145m of COVID business support to Scotland in Barnett Consequentials.
In March, the Tory UK government announced a £1.5billion COVID discretionary business fund for firms outside of the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
In the announcement was a commitment to pass £145m of the fund to the Scottish Government in Barnett Consequentials.
However, that money is yet to arrive and correspondence from the Scottish Government Minister Tom Arthur to SNP MSP Willie Coffey confirms that the Tories will not reveal whether the funds will be allocated to Scotland until the 2021-22 budget update in the new year, potentially depriving businesses of vital funding for months.
Commenting, SNP MSP Willie Coffey (pictured) said:
“When the pandemic first hit we heard promise after promise that the Tories would do ‘whatever it takes’ but it seems they won’t do whatever it takes to support thousands of businesses and jobs in Scotland.
“For a Tory party that is meant to be pro-business they are leaving businesses high and dry with no idea when the Scottish Government will receive Barnett Consequentials from the discretionary fund.
“It has been five months since the fund was announced and yet the Scottish Government has not seen a single penny of it.
“Businesses across Scotland have been in desperate need of support from government to ensure they can open their doors again, but the Tories are treating business in Scotland with contempt.
“In a further insult to businesses, the Tories are keeping the cash firmly within their grasp until at least the budget update in the new year – that might be too late for some businesses, they need the money now – not the end of the year.
“This once again goes to show that you cannot trust the Tories to protect the interests of businesses in Scotland.
“The only way we can protect the future of Scotland is by becoming an independent country.”