The SNP has said millions of families face “a bitter winter” of rising unemployment and squeezed living standards – under Tory plans to scrap the furlough scheme and impose an extreme Brexit during a second wave of coronavirus.
Ian Blackford MP said the Tory government had “deliberately chosen” to let unemployment soar – by ending the furlough scheme prematurely and replacing it with inadequate half measures, which will cause thousands of people to lose their jobs unnecessarily.
The SNP Westminster Leader said the twin threats of ending the furlough scheme and imposing a ‘low deal or no deal’ Brexit at the end of the year showed Westminster could not be trusted to act in Scotland’s interests – and the only way to protect Scotland’s economy is to become an independent country.
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.
Experts have warned the significantly-less-generous replacement for the furlough scheme will not prevent mass redundancies.
The Resolution Foundation warned it “will not significantly reduce the rise in unemployment”.
The IFS warned “it is clear that many jobs will be lost over the coming months” and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) described it as “woefully inadequate”
And the Scottish Tourism Alliance warned “the reality we must all face now is that within the coming days and weeks, businesses owners will lose their livelihoods, thousands will lose their income and the effects on the economy and people’s lives will be nothing short of devastating.”
Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said: “Millions of families face a bitter winter of rising unemployment and squeezed living standards – as a result of the Tory government’s reckless decision to scrap the furlough scheme, and impose an extreme Brexit, during a second wave of coronavirus.
“The Tories have made a deliberate choice to let unemployment soar – just like Thatcher did in the 1980s.
“They are shirking their responsibilities to thousands of workers, who will now lose their jobs due to woefully inadequate support, and to the many good businesses who have been forced to close or reduce their activity through no fault of their own.
“Yet again, Westminster is proving it cannot be trusted to act in Scotland’s interests. By withdrawing support for jobs, blocking the devolution of financial powers, and threatening to impose a low deal or no deal extreme Brexit in a pandemic – the Tories are demonstrating the only way to protect Scotland’s economy is to become an independent country.
“The Chancellor must think again, urgently reinstate a full job protection scheme and devolve the powers Scotland needs to protect our economy.
“If he won’t, the need for Scotland to become an independent country with full control of economic powers will be beyond doubt.”