Funding pledge

No show for Johnson and Sunak on vital COBR call

Missing: Johnson and Sunak

Support for businesses has been promised by the Treasury though Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was not new money and expressed astonishment that neither the Prime Minister nor the Chancellor were on tonight’s COBR call.

The Chancellor announced that Scotland is to receive an extra £220m from the UK government to help tackle Covid-19.

The UK government said the money was on top of the £220m it had already provided from the Autumn Budget.

Ms Sturgeon said the UK Government was not responding quickly enough to the advice from public health authorities.

A spokesman said the First Minister was” utterly incredulous” to discover neither the Prime Minister nor the Chancellor were on today’s COBR call, the third in succession that they have not attended.

“Treasury ministers revealed that they were now able to commit to some limited further funding. This is welcome,” said the spokesman.

“The reality, however, appears to be that this is not additional and is simply a form of ‘advance’ on funding that would have come to Scotland anyway. We are seeking urgent clarity on this.

“We need more urgency, greater clarity and faster action from the UK. The need is real and the need is now. In the face of the clear advice of public health experts, it is impossible to understand why the UK still refuses to act.”

The Scottish Government has already found £100m from the Scottish budget to support businesses including £66m for the hospitality sector.

However, there has been concern that some businesses which have benefited during the pandemic, such as takeaway outlets, continue to receive support.

There has also been outrage from a range of other firms such as hair salons and beauty parlours which are not included in the latest measures.

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