Protection of Jobs and Businesses

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:06 pm on 9th September 2020.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative, Moray 3:06 pm, 9th September 2020

May I begin my remarks by thanking the Labour party for bringing forward this motion for debate today? It has allowed Members from both sides of the House and across all parties to highlight the positive impact that has been felt by the massive measures that were introduced by the UK Government during this coronavirus pandemic and the positive impact that has been felt in constituencies the length and breadth of the country.

In Moray, 85,000 meals were served under the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, 12,900 jobs were furloughed, 2,800 individuals were supported through the self-employed income support scheme, more than 1,000 bounce back loans totalling over £28.5 million were granted as well as 44 coronavirus business interruption loans. That has delivered more than £7 million in the Moray constituency alone. That is the support that we have seen from the UK Government, and I am extremely grateful for that.

Briefly, I want to echo the remarks of Grahame Morris, who is no longer in his place. I have raised the plight of the coach industry at Treasury questions. I know that this is a difficult issue and I know that Treasury Ministers have heard this case before, but Maynes of Buckie, who I have been doing a lot of work with, and groups across Scotland and the UK are looking for support for the coach industry and anything that can be done would be gratefully received.

I also want to highlight something that I have done in my first month as leader of the Scottish Conservatives. I made a pledge to produce a document for Scotland’s economic recovery and jobs recovery, which is so important during this pandemic and as we recover from it. I was disappointed that none of the suggestions that we put forward in our policy document—both short-term and long-term measures—were picked up by the Scottish National party. Indeed, the Scottish Government’s programme for government that was announced just a few weeks ago did not mention small businesses once. They did not include an education Bill, which is vital as we take our country forward, but, they did, of course, find the time to put in another referendum Bill to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK. That shows the priorities of the SNP during this pandemic and its lack of ambition for Scotland after 13 years of power.