Visit to Scotland

Sunak to press case for union and green jobs

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak is in Scotland today

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will make a further case for the union and call for a focus on the green economy during a visit to Scotland today.

Mr Sunak will meet workers and companies in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Fife which have benefited from the UK Government’s jobs schemes throughout the pandemic.

Ahead of his visit, he said: “We’ve come through this pandemic as one United Kingdom – with our Plan for Jobs supporting one in three jobs and tens of thousands of businesses across Scotland.

“Thanks to the strength of our Union we’ve deployed the fastest vaccination rollout in Europe and our economy is rebounding faster than expected.

“It’s vital this continues, and Scotland’s innovation and ingenuity will be key in creating jobs, powering our growth and driving a green recovery.

However, the SNP has led criticism of his repeated rejection of call for an extension of the furlough scheme.

The scheme, which has protected millions of jobs, is due to close at the end of September.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated the cost of furlough from March 2020 to the end of September this year will amount to about £66 billion.

The SNP’s shadow chancellor Alison Thewliss said: “The Chancellor should use his visit to Scotland to apologise to the people and businesses here for withdrawing furlough support prematurely and risking thousands of unnecessary redundancies.

“Although things are looking more positive, we are not out of the Covid woods yet. Many sectors and businesses across the UK are still not operating at full capacity, and many of those that are will need continued support to stay afloat.

“That must include action on the looming debt crisis facing businesses through the repayment of UK Government business loans.”

Figures from the Treasury showed 173,100 jobs were furloughed across Scotland at the end of May.

The SNP said Mr Sunak’s Kickstarter jobs scheme had only provided Scotland with 1.5% of the 250,000 jobs the Chancellor planned to fund as part of the pandemic recovery.

However, the UK Government said the SNP was misleading the public and Scotland had actually received more than its relative population share of jobs so far.

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