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Douglas Ross calls for more help to combat economic damage of Aberdeen’s local lockdown from UK and Scottish governments

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross.
Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross.

Douglas Ross has called on the Chancellor and Scottish Government to provide more financial help for Aberdeen to combat the economic damage done by the local lockdown.

The Scottish Conservative leader said the two governments should work together to support the city as well as particular sectors which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Appearing on the BBC’s Politics Scotland show, the Moray MP said he would be speaking to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to make the case for more backing.

Mr Ross said the UK Government’s furlough scheme and other Covid-19 initiatives had protected 900,000 Scottish jobs but it could not go on “indefinitely”.

Challenged over previous calls for funds to help local lockdowns that replicated furlough help, Mr Ross said: “That’s different from saying it must be the furlough as we have it at the moment.”

He suggested Aberdeen, which lost much of the benefit of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, would benefit from more help.

The Tory leader added: “I would really like to see both the Scottish Government and the UK Government working to come up with a form of support that protects those industries that are struggling as a result of the restrictions to suppress the Covid threat.”

Earlier Mr Ross said: “I do think there are some sectors that are clearly still struggling. I think there is a need from this Chancellor and this UK Government to take notice of everything going on in the country. And I would expect we will be certainly speaking with the Chancellor to see what can be done to protect those industries.”

SNP urge furlough extension

Mr Ross was speaking as the SNP repeated its calls for the UK Government to extend its furlough scheme beyond October.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “Boris Johnson must urgently U-turn on his disastrous plan to axe the furlough scheme in the middle of a global pandemic. With the infection rate worsening and lockdown measures tightening, it would be completely unthinkable for the Tories to scrap support for jobs next month.

“The SNP has been warning for months that Tory cuts to the scheme were far too premature – and would result in thousands of people losing their jobs unnecessarily, and good businesses going under, at the worst possible time. These planned cuts must be immediately reversed.”

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