With furlough due to end on 30th September, Scottish Labour is calling on the Scottish Government to use the powers it has to avert disaster to our economy.

As of July 31 2021, Scotland had as many as 116,500 people still on furlough, currently the highest number of workers on furlough amongst the devolved nations, more than Northern Ireland and Wales combined.

The accommodation and food services had the highest number of employments on furlough (23,900) and the sector faces ongoing difficulties with the introduction of vaccine passports.

With Covid figures still high, the pandemic is causing waves of disruption which are likely to have an adverse effect on the key trading months over Christmas.

Scottish Labour is today calling for an urgent short-term plan and a longer-term strategy to help support workers and business. The immediate business survival and recovery plan should consist of:

  • An urgent reskilling programme and the repurposing of Scottish Enterprise to kickstart the economy.
  • Concentrated debt management and business support, with the creation of a debt management strategy.
  • Establishing robust contingencies and resilience across the whole economy.
  • Make use of the neglected Green Jobs Fund.
  • Vast improvement of the Scottish Government’s communication and engagement processes so the sector feels included and listened to.

Daniel Johnson MSP, Scottish Labour Finance & Economy Spokesperson, said:

“We’re heading towards a furlough cliff edge and there is a severe lack of urgency from this government. Companies are calling out for practical support now and need a survival plan to keep afloat.

“Covid didn’t end for business when restrictions were eased.

“This government has no contingency plan or proper sector engagement in order to support workers.

“The Scottish Government need to use the powers they already have to outline a plan to help businesses transition and workers re-skill.

“This SNP Government is out of touch and after 14 years in power it has lost the trust of business.

“If we are to avoid a winter of economic turmoil then the SNP must act and act now.”

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