Covid-19 Fiscal Implications

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 16th June 2020.

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Photo of Donald Cameron Donald Cameron Conservative

I welcome the opportunity to open for the Scottish Conservatives.

The pandemic has undoubtedly presented us with significant challenges, be that managing public health in the safest way possible, protecting our economy from the immediate shocks of closure or ensuring that our children continue to receive the best education that they can in the circumstances.

The financial support that has been offered to Scotland’s workers and businesses has been paramount in sustaining livelihoods. I genuinely believe that, for the most part, both Scotland’s Governments have responded quickly and effectively.

The UK Government, in particular, has stepped up by injecting significant financial resources into the Scottish economy. I mentioned some of the sums that it has provided a few weeks ago, but they bear repeating so that the sheer enormity of that response, which is undoubtedly unprecedented, can be acknowledged. During a crisis as significant as the one that we are going through, the United Kingdom is Scotland’s insurance policy, and it has paid out in full and on time. [

Interruption

.] No, I will not give way.

The UK Government has provided £3.8 billion of Barnett consequentials, which have been vital in supporting our public services; £4.8 billion of support through the job retention scheme and nearly £700 million for our self-employed workforce through the self-employed scheme; and, through the British Business Bank, £825 million of bounce-back loans and £460 million of business interruption support. That represents the provision by the UK Government of more than £10 billion-worth of support to date, and it illustrates the strength of a union that enables resources to be spread across the nations of the UK during tough times. [

Interruption

.] That level of support has been widely welcomed. I am being pressed to give way by Mike Rumbles.