UK Government Urged to Guarantee Furlough Pay or Devolve Powers

Mhairi Black MP (pictured) has called on the UK Chancellor to confirm that workers in devolved nations will have access to the furlough scheme as long as is required, in line with decisions about lockdown taken by devolved governments.

The SNP has said the furlough scheme must continue for as long as Scotland and the other devolved nations require it – after the Tory Scottish Secretary refused to make a commitment to maintaining access.

At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, SNP MP Marion Fellows called on the UK to address the issue – but Boris Johnson refused to confirm whether the furlough scheme would be extended in Scotland beyond October.

The party’s Shadow Scottish Secretary has now demanded clarity on the issue, saying the Tory government’s deflection of the issue must be addressed to give certainty for businesses and workers across Scotland.

At Scotland Questions, Mhairi Black asked Alister Jack to commit to maintaining access to the furlough scheme for as long as lockdown continues in each of the devolved nations – or to devolve fiscal powers so the devolved governments can implement their own schemes. The Tory Scottish Secretary failed to commit – claiming it was “a matter for the Chancellor”.

SNP Shadow Scottish Secretary Mhairi Black MP said:

“The Chancellor must give clarity to the thousands of employers and workers across Scotland and other devolved nations in the UK – to prematurely cut off access to the furlough scheme would be a clear sign of the UK government putting narrow politics before people.

“People deserve a guarantee of adequate support for as long as lockdown continues in each of the four UK nations.

“The Tories cannot shirk responsibility on this – pushing households further into hardship by cutting off support during this public health emergency is totally unacceptable.

“If the UK government fails in its responsibilities, it must devolve the necessary fiscal powers so devolved governments to allow Scotland to implement our own support schemes, providing certainty and stability in the coming months.”