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Treasury’s Scots Covid support now close to £10bn

Stephen Barclay

Steve Barclay: ‘Scotland has been able to rely on UK Government

Covid pandemic support provided by the UK Government to Holyrood is now close to £10 billion after the Treasury topped up Scottish funding by a further £1.1bn.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay said the Scottish Government will get “the resources and flexibility it needs”.

Announcing that funding for Scotland would hit £9.7bn, he said: “From the outset of this crisis people and businesses in Scotland have been able to rely on the UK Government.

“UK Treasury schemes such as furlough, support for the self-employed and business loans have helped to protect jobs and livelihoods.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack added that it will “provide further certainty to the Scottish Government”.

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He said Westminster was supporting more than 900,000 Scottish jobs through the furlough and self-employed income schemes, backing £3.4bn in loans to Scottish businesses, helping thousands get back into work and investing millions in the development of and supplying vaccines.

“The strength of the union and support offered by the UK Treasury has never been more important,” he said.

Despite the new funding the SNP and Federation of Small Businesses demanded the Chancellor plug the gaps in support for the millions who have been excluded from available UK government coronavirus schemes.

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The Treasury Committee has recommended the Treasury help the newly self-employed who missed out on previous support and brings forward support for limited company directors.

The committee’s Economic Impact of Coronavirus inquiry update calls for the 50% limit in the eligibility criteria for the fourth tranche of the SEISS grant to be reconsidered so those who derive less than half their income through self-employment can receive some level of support.

It wants the £50,000 cap in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to be removed.

The Federation of Small Businesses national chairman Mike Cherry, said:  “The Government urgently needs to come forward with a road map to recovery and interventions to help those unable to access business support. Action before a pro-business Budget next month would mark a real statement of intent.

“Directors and the newly self-employed have suffered a torrid eleven months. The Treasury Committee has rightly and tirelessly made the case for them.

Alison Thewliss, the SNP Shadow Chancellor and co-chairman of the Excluded UK All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), said:  “This report vindicates what the SNP has been calling on for months. The Chancellor is failing miserably to follow through on his government’s commitment that no-one would be left behind.

“The three million excluded have now been living without a single penny of support for 10 months now – despite the widespread calls and the hard work of Excluded UK.”

The Resolution Foundation estimates that one in three people in self-employment, a total of 1.7 million, are at risk of losing their income – including around 330,000 in Scotland. 

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