Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been warned by West Dunbartonshire’s MP that the UK’s new jobs support scheme falls well short of what is required to protect jobs and livelihoods in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Local SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said that the Tory Chancellor’s emergency support package announced this week will not be enough to safeguard thousands of families in West Dunbartonshire and across the country from the threat of wave of mass redundancies in the coming months.
It follows warnings by anti-poverty campaigners and business leaders that the UK government must do more to help those sectors hit hardest by Coronavirus, as well as the ‘forgotten millions’ of self-employed and freelance workers who have been left without support since the start of the outbreak.
Damning analysis by the Resolution Foundation of the Chancellor’s new Job Support Scheme – which replaces the government’s existing furlough scheme – suggests up to 6 million households across the UK now face an unprecedented squeeze on living standards unless further action is taken.
Industry groups including the Scottish Tourism Alliance and British Retail Consortium have also warned UK Ministers that mass redundancies in key sectors of employment would be inevitable without additional support from the Treasury.
West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said that if the UK government isn’t prepared to do what’s necessary to safeguard jobs and livelihoods, then they should devolve the full financial powers required so the Scottish government can get on with the job.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised to ‘do whatever it takes’ to protect the jobs and livelihoods of my constituents, but the reality is the new jobs support scheme unveiled by the UK government falls well short of what’s required.
“In West Dunbartonshire and across the country far too many hardworking families have been unfairly excluded from the help they need, and now the Chancellor seems content to leave those hardest hit by the pandemic facing a wave of mass redundancies in the coming months.
“Whilst the furlough schemes have been a lifeline for those who have benefited, it’s a different story for the millions of others left behind due to gaps in support – including the many excluded self-employed and freelance workers left facing financial hardship by this Tory UK government.
“I’ve heard from a lot of concerned constituents following the Chancellor’s statement, and the message is clear that more must be done to protect jobs, livelihoods and those businesses hit hardest by the pandemic.
“If the UK government isn’t prepared to do what’s necessary to support our communities through this crisis, then it should agree to devolve the full economic powers required so the Scottish government can get on with the job.
“Westminster’s refusal to do so makes it clear that the only way to protect our economy in Scotland is with the full financial powers of a normal independent country.”