Economic Outlook and Furlough Scheme Changes

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:39 pm on 16th June 2020.

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Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) 12:39 pm, 16th June 2020

I thank the Minister for the comments he has made. While the support under the schemes, including the coronavirus job retention scheme, is welcome, many of the comments I made on 17 March and 27 April about those who have not been supported still stand. The Treasury Committee would agree that the 1 million who have been left out of this support have been left out of support because of the Government’s own choice—the Government have decided not to support these people—and further issues remain about maternity, the derisory 26p extra given to refugees and those with no recourse to public funds.

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, Fiona Hyslop, has written to the Government, identifying tourism, arts and culture, oil and gas, childcare, retail, and rural and island communities as being particularly at risk, so will the Minister now accept that winding up the furlough scheme and putting the costs on to employers is a significant risk and will put people out of jobs? Will he extend it beyond October for sectors that are particularly pressed? Will he look at extending the self-employed support scheme, as many of those people will still require support on an ongoing basis because the work they did is no longer there? Will he look at VAT cuts to tourism and hospitality, which will support those sectors that have seen so much pressure and get them back on their feet at a time when they are really struggling? Lastly, does he agree with Lord Forsyth that there will be a tsunami of job losses, with 3 million people left without work?