Covid-19: Economic Package

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:32 pm on 12th May 2020.

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Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) 12:32 pm, 12th May 2020

I wish the Chancellor a very happy birthday. The coronavirus job retention scheme has kept people from unemployment at a cost to other parts of the UK Government’s spending and to the economy as a whole. I welcome his commitment to extend it to October and to look at flexibility in the scheme, because that is something that many, including the Scottish National party, have been calling for. We await the details of that, which I hope we will see before too long. Does he recognise that removing or reducing wage support levels in the furlough scheme prematurely would increase universal credit claims, force workers back to work before it is safe for them, and risk a second peak? The Scottish Government have been clear that the stay-at-home advice has not changed, so will the Chancellor commit today to ensuring that the job retention scheme will remain in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland if our lockdowns continue longer than in England? Lastly, will he commit to looking at the gaps within the scheme for new starters, and will he look at those businesses who are still waiting for money under the scheme, because he said that he would do whatever it takes, and if he does not fill those gaps, that will ring very hollow?