“Perfect Storm” Brewing for Job Losses With One Month Left Of Furlough Scheme

Ruth Maguire MSP has reiterated calls from the SNP for the UK Government to extend the furlough scheme. Today marks exactly one month until the scheme ends which has prompted warnings of ‘a perfect storm’ of job losses, business closures and households affected.

In a letter to the Chancellor – signed by all SNP MPs – it was highlighted that businesses face a triple hit of laying off thousands of staff.

This is due to Treasury support being withdrawn, bracing for the economic impact of restrictions being introduced in response to a second wave of coronavirus cases, and navigating the damaging economic consequences of Brexit as the Tories charge towards a bad deal or a no-deal exit.

Industry leaders have already raised concerns over the move to end the furlough scheme and replace it with inadequate half measures – with the IFS stating “it is clear that many jobs will be lost over the coming months”, and the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) describing it as “woefully inadequate.”

Earlier this month, findings published by PA found that more than 185,000 major job losses have been announced since the pandemic began in March.

Analysis from the Scottish Government shows that extending the furlough scheme by eight months could save around 61,000 jobs in Scotland.

The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South said: “With the furlough scheme being prematurely wrapped up at the end of the month, people in North Ayrshire and across Scotland will be put into a financially perilous position.

“Rather than abandoning workers and employers in a time of need, the Tory government must reconsider its plans, move to extend the scheme into 2021, and fix the gaps in support to ensure no one is left behind.

“If they will not alter their course, the Scottish Government must be given the necessary financial powers to avoid unnecessary job losses as a result of the UK Government refusing to extend the furlough scheme.”

Alison Thewliss MP, the SNP’s Shadow Chancellor, said: “With just one month to go before the Tory government prematurely scraps the furlough scheme and replaces it with inadequate half measures, it’s clear from the warnings that a perfect storm is brewing for mass job losses, businesses going under, and people’s living standards being hit hard in the coming weeks and months.

“The Chancellor once pledged that he would ‘do whatever it takes’ to protect the economy, but he is now setting the country up for a winter of significant and entirely avoidable redundancies. This is particularly alarming against a backdrop of a second wave of coronavirus cases across the UK and the devastating economic impact of Brexit just around the corner – with either a bad deal or no-deal outcome delivering a body blow to Scotland’s economy.

“There can be no doubt that the blame and responsibility for every job lost as a result of the furlough scheme being shut down will lie solely at the doors of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak.

“The Scottish Government’s calls for the devolution of financial powers needed to protect our economy have been completely ignored and, without consultation with the devolved governments, the UK government has scrapped the Budget – putting Scottish budget plans at risk.

“By withholding the investment and powers required, scrapping the Budget, and threatening an extreme Brexit, the Tory government is confirming that only by becoming an independent country can we properly protect Scotland’s interests.”

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