SNP MP Drew Hendry hit out at the Government’s furlough scheme for not protecting certain jobs such as sole traders and freelancers. He called on Westminster to give the Scottish Government the power to help the workers. But Alok Sharma tore into Mr Hendry as he explained how the UK Government’s furlough scheme saved 730,000 jobs north of the border.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hendry said: “As we’ve heard many businesses; sole traders, freelancers and others have been left without support in this health emergency.
“They’re on their knees and they’re still getting no support.
“How can they rebuild their trade when his Government won’t help them?
“If this Government won’t help them, why won’t they allow simple adjustments to Scotland’s borrowing rules so the Scottish Government can step in.”
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Mr Sharma swiftly replied: “Since he talked about support in Scotland, like many colleagues in this House I believe in the Union and we must work together to support workers across the UK.
“Over 730,000 jobs have been protected in Scotland through the furlough scheme and he will also know that as a result of the additional money that the Chancellor announced at the summer statement, the total additional Barnett funding since March is £4.6billion.”
Mr Hendry pressed the Government over the money announced for Scotland in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer economic statement.
It comes as Chancellor Mr Sunak’s mini-budget earlier this month aimed at trying to fight back against the imminent consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.
The Chancellor announced a £30billion package which would see business rates suspended for many firms in England, extending sick pay and boosting NHS funding.
He warned of a “significant” but temporary disruption to the UK economy but vowed: “We will get through this together.”
Of the £30 billion in extra spending, £12 billion will be specifically targeted at coronavirus measures, including at least £5 billion for the NHS in England and £7billion for business and workers across the UK.