Scheme which benefited thousands of Midlothian jobs gets set for the final furlough
South Scotland List MSP Craig Hoy (Con) has welcomed the number of employees returning to work, as the UK Government’s furlough scheme winds down.
Mr Hoy has also welcomed the number of jobs still being protected by the furlough scheme, which was extended to the end of September by the UK Government, with the Scottish Government calling on it to be extended to avoid more job losses.
At its peak, the furlough scheme protected over 900,000 jobs in Scotland and overall has protected 16,300 jobs in Midlothian.
A total of 1,900 are still being protected in Midlothian, but across Scotland 26,500 employees returned to work over the course of July.
Commenting, Mr Hoy said: “The UK Government’s furlough scheme has protected vital jobs and livelihoods across Midlothian throughout the pandemic and is continuing to do so.
“With restrictions having eased over the last month, it is welcome to see more employees continuing to return to work in Midlothian, thanks to the UK Government’s ambitious Plan for Jobs.
“There must continue to be a focus on getting people back into work and accelerating our economic recovery. The UK Government have stepped up at every turn to support jobs during the pandemic and the furlough scheme has shown the strength of being part of the Union during this crisis.
“The SNP have failed to engage with businesses during Covid and been too slow to get funding out the door to them. Now they want to focus on another divisive independence referendum, which will be deeply damaging for jobs in Midlothian.
“As furlough winds down in the coming weeks, it is imperative that the SNP-Green Government focus on our recovery, rather than separating Scotland from the United Kingdom.”
Commenting, SNP MSP for for Midlothian South, Christine Grahame said: "Tory MSPs should be calling on their UK Government colleagues to extend furlough and protect the thousands of jobs currently at risk as a result.
"Thousands of Scots still rely on furlough for legitimate reasons and the Tory Government's plans to end this support is shameful. At last count, around 116,500 jobs remain furloughed in Scotland.”
She added: "The combination of ending furlough prematurely, cutting Universal Credit by £1040 a year, a 1.25 per cent increase in National Insurance, skyrocketing energy prices, rising inflation, and the damage of Boris Johnson's hard Brexit deal to businesses, exports and the economy is going to be utterly devastating for thousands of people across Scotland - pushing them into poverty and exasperating inequality.
"The Tories must open their eyes to this before it's too late - or they risk creating an unemployment and poverty crisis like we've never seen before."