Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has welcomed a new announcement from the Chancellor to provide a safety net to businesses forced to close due to Coronavirus restrictions over the winter months.
Rishi Sunak said on Friday that the Jobs Support Scheme would be expanded to pay two thirds of the wages of staff at companies that have to shut by law.
All licensed premises in the Central Belt of Scotland were told by Nicola Sturgeon earlier this week that they must close. Similar measures are expected to be introduced in the north of England in the coming days.
Under the new measures from the Treasury – announced in advance of any new restrictions south of the border – any business asked to close over the winter months will be eligible for support. It would also apply to any businesses that have been shut since March.
The current HMRC furlough runs until the end of this month, after which the previously announced Jobs Support Scheme will kick in which will supplement those jobs which are on reduced hours due to reduction in demand.
The Chancellor also announced new grant payments which will be made available to affected hospitality businesses in England. As a result of this, the Scottish Government will receive an additional £700 million to do something similar if they so choose.
Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan David Duguid said
Once again, the UK Government is providing a safety net to protect workers and businesses affected by Coronavirus restrictions.
It will make a huge difference to businesses that are forced to close their doors due to new restrictions imposed over the winter months.
Nicola Sturgeon had already decided to close pubs and restaurants across the Central Belt.
I sincerely hope that there will not be a need for blanket closures in areas like Banff and Buchan.
But if any business or sector is asked to shut down over the coming months, then this package of support from the Chancellor will help them to stay afloat.
This announcement will also mean an extra £700million for the Scottish Government – which I hope the First Minister will consider using to provide support for those businesses, across Scotland, which remain open but will struggle from the restrictions she has already announced.
Workers and businesses in Banff and Buchan have already benefited hugely from the job furlough scheme, Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the various UK Government backed grants and loans.
It is welcome to see that the UK Government is once again prepared to do what it can to protect jobs and businesses that will suffer in the months ahead.
Commenting on the announcement from the Chancellor, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said
The extension of the Chancellor’s Job Support Scheme is welcome news for businesses across Scotland, providing a vital safety net for companies which are asked to close temporarily.
From the very start of the pandemic, the UK Government has focussed on stopping the spread of coronavirus and keeping people safe, while also doing everything we can to protect the economy.
The unprecedented package of measures we have put in place to support all parts of the country shows the clear benefits for Scotland being part of a strong United Kingdom.