Nicola Sturgeon urged the Treasury to continue supporting Scottish business and workers with extra money after the latest figures showed a severe GDP contraction in the UK economy. The Government is due to phase out its job saving furlough scheme within months but the First Minister pleaded for an extension of the measures in light of the latest economic data. Speaking from Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said: “Today’s GDP figures show that in April the UK economy contracted by more than 20 percent.
“That is, by some distance, the largest decline on record and it confirms the scale of the economic crisis that has inevitably been caused by the health crisis that we face.
“I have previously welcomed the UK Government’s intervention, especially the furlough scheme which has helped to preserve jobs during this period.
“But in my view, it is now time to signal a further extension of Treasury support.”
The First Minister continued: “Other countries have already made this move, including France where plans are in place for a long-term partial activity scheme covering as long as two years.
“The alternative to extended support being put in place is either business are forced to reopen before it’s safe to do so or businesses have to take an even bigger hit and that would cost jobs.
“Neither of those alternatives are acceptable and I look forward to working constructively with the Government.”
The First Minister’s update comes after she appealed to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to extend the transition period for Brexit trade talks.
Ms Sturgeon joined forces with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford in warning a no deal Brexit would be “extraordinarily reckless” for the UK amidst the economic impact the coronavirus pandemic is due to have.
In a letter to Mr Johnson, the pair wrote: “While we hope that the second half of this year will see the beginnings of a recovery, we believe that exiting the transition period at the end of the year would be extraordinarily reckless.
“It would pile a further very significant economic and social shock on top of the COVID-19 crisis, hitting businesses whose reserves, in many case, have already been exhausted, leading to more business closures and redundancies.”
More to follow…
Published at Fri, 12 Jun 2020 11:47:00 +0000