UK Govt must u-turn on end to Furlough Scheme

The UK Job Retention Scheme saw the UK Treasury pay 80% of wages to workers at the height of lockdown in March, but the UK government has tapered away support and now threatens the end of the scheme on the arbitrary date at the end of October – despite tightening restrictions across the UK.

The UK Government’s callous approach to employment support has been widely criticised with the STUC grouping of trade unions – warning the premature ending of the scheme threatens 200,000 jobs in Scotland alone.

The UK Government is ready to pull the rug from under millions across the UK with plans to prematurely end the furlough scheme. This has been a lifeline to workers across Inverclyde since March and the decision to end it must be reconsidered immediately.

Meanwhile, millions of freelancers and self-employed workers have been left without a single penny from the UK government’s coffers. These forgotten workers have paid their taxes like everyone else, but are now at breaking point after raiding their own savings and being forced to take out loans just to keep afloat.  Only last week, I received a response letter from the HM Treasury regarding self-employed workers in Inverclyde who feel they’ve been forgotten.

Other countries are extending their furlough schemes but without the necessary powers Scotland cannot do likewise. The shambolic handling of the economic crisis accompanying the coronavirus pandemic proves exactly why Scotland needs full economic powers to take decisions in our best interest and support workers at a time of national crisis.