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Thank you, Mr Speaker. As the covid-19 pandemic continues, we are reminded every day of the terrible toll that it takes on our society, and of the heroic efforts of our frontline workers. I put on record our gratitude for everything that they do.
It is now 34 days since the Chancellor first announced a package of economic support—at the time, heralded as a package of support for all businesses and workers during this health emergency. Yet, 34 days on, thousands of businesses and individuals have found themselves with no income, no support and no end in sight—all because of arbitrary cut-off dates and bureaucratic barriers imposed by the UK Government. People are being left behind.
Today, the Scottish National party is leading a cross-party call for a universal basic income to finally protect everyone. It will put cash in people’s pockets and help to ensure a strong economic recovery and a fairer society. Can the First Secretary of State give us a straight answer today: does he support that proposal, or does he reject it?