This week, I led a debate in the House of Commons on the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme, where I once again called for its extension past the planned cut-off date in October, given the tsunami of job losses this is likely to bring as well as the inclusion of support for the 3million people who have been unjustly deprived of any support at all.
Paying for the scheme is not as expensive as it is claimed, it will be offset by the tax and national insurance contributions paid on wages, and it will help maintain demand in the economy, which is crucial during a recession. Instead, ending the scheme will send unemployment soaring, decreasing disposable income available and creating a knock-on effect on businesses, which will reduce the size of the economy.
The Chancellor said he wanted this scheme to be a bridge through the pandemic, but if this support is withdrawn next month, his bridge has not reached the other side. The oncoming tidal wave of job losses is not inevitable; the UK Government must act to extend support for jobs and protect our economy through the pandemic. If these calls go unheeded, we in Scotland will simply be further persuaded that we need those powers for ourselves to make our own decisions.
You can watch my speech below.