Protection of Jobs and Businesses

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:33 pm on 9th September 2020.

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Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) 1:33 pm, 9th September 2020

People across these islands are going through the most difficult of times. In the past six months, people have lost loved ones; they have not been able to have the human contact we all need; and they have struggled to keep themselves and their families going. Communities have pulled together admirably to help their neighbours, but businesses of all sizes have found it difficult, and an estimated 730,000 jobs have been lost so far. Ending the employment support schemes prematurely could cost 3 million jobs. The SNP fully supports the motion tabled by the Labour party today.

On 17 March, the Chancellor made a promise in this House. He said:

“I promised to do whatever it takes to support our economy through this crisis and that, if the situation changed, I would not hesitate to take further action.”—[Official Report, 17 March 2020;
Vol. 673, c. 931.]

On these Benches, we welcomed the coronavirus job retention scheme and the self-employment support scheme. The economic powers to create such schemes rest in the hands of the UK Government. That has nothing to do with the strength of the Union: it is merely a reflection of where the economic powers lie.

The Scottish Government’s programme for government shows that where we do have the powers, Scotland has an ambitious and comprehensive plan for sustainable economic recovery, and 71% of Scots now think that Holyrood should have the financial powers required to protect our economy.