Johnson must U-turn on Tory cuts to prevent mass redundancies

The SNP has said Boris Johnson must U-turn on his reckless plans to axe the furlough scheme in the middle of a pandemic – as leading business groups urged an extension beyond October.

Earlier today, manufacturing body Make UK called for an extension to the Job Retention Scheme beyond October, while the CBI called for replacement support to avoid a “cliff edge”.

Drew Hendry MP said the Tory government risked causing mass redundancies across the UK if it refused to extend the furlough scheme and devolve the financial powers needed to save jobs.

The warnings come as the Office for National Statistics prepares to publish its next labour market survey this week. The last survey, published in August, revealed the UK shed nearly three quarters of a million (730,000) jobs since the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

Commenting, SNP Shadow Business Secretary Drew Hendry MP said:

“Boris Johnson must finally listen to businesses and U-turn on his reckless plans to axe the furlough scheme in the middle of a pandemic – or Scotland and the UK will face an otherwise avoidable wave of mass redundancies.

“If we are to avoid the lasting social damage caused by 1980s levels of unemployment, it is vital that the furlough scheme is extended and the financial powers needed to protect jobs are devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

“Scotland can make different choices to save jobs but only if we have the powers that other normal independent countries have. Our European neighbours in Ireland, France and Germany are already extending their furlough schemes just as Scotland would if we were independent.

“By withholding these powers and refusing to act, the Tory government is risking thousands of unnecessary job losses and years of pain for communities across the UK.

“Scotland shouldn’t have to wait for Westminster to act. It is clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect jobs and our economy is for Scotland to become an independent country.”

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