The SNP wants UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak to delay cuts to the furlough scheme which are set to be introduced from 1st July, as the easing of coronavirus restrictions is delayed and many businesses are still not able to open fully.
The changes to the scheme will mean that employers have to increase the contributions they make towards the salaries of staff on furlough, which the SNP says puts more jobs at risk.
Currently, the UK government pays 80% of furloughed staff wages up to £2,500 per month – with the employer covering pension and national insurance contributions – but from the start of July the Treasury’s support will fall to 70%.
The SNP is warning that the increased costs for employers will mean many struggle to pay their share of salary costs while some lockdown restrictions remain in place.
Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster says: “In just ten days time, businesses will be handed a massive bill from the UK government – as the Tories cut furlough and business rates support, despite extending lockdown restrictions.
“Tory plans to withdraw support prematurely are a danger to jobs – with the potential to cause thousands of unnecessary redundancies across the UK, during a third wave of the pandemic.”
Mr Blackford is urging the Chancellor to make a U-turn on the changes to furlough support calling it a “danger to jobs” which could cause “thousands of unnecessary redundancies.” His party wants to see furlough support continue at current levels for as long as any lockdown restrictions remain in place.
Furlough saved ‘a million Scottish jobs’
The Scottish Conservatives say the furlough scheme has protected a million jobs north of the border, and that support from the UK government is “essential” for Scotland’s Covid recovery.
“Both of Scotland’s governments need to play their part and right now, the SNP Government are more interested in provoking fights with the UK Government than working with them to protect Scottish jobs” says a Conservative spokesperson.
“Every week that passes, it seems a new business group are furious at the lack of support and engagement from the SNP. Over the last week alone, businesses in the hospitality, tourism, wedding and soft play sectors have complained about how the government are treating businesses.”