Douglas Ross calls on own party to extend financial support while criticising Nicola Sturgeon for raising 'tired' constitutional arguments

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives said the middle of the pandemic is the “wrong time” for “long-standing constitutional grievances”

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 4:48 pm
Douglas Ross has called for more financial support
Douglas Ross has called for more financial support

Leader of the Scottish Tories Douglas Ross has criticised Nicola Sturgeon for raising “long-standing constitutional grievances” after the First Minister called on the UK Government to extend the Job Retention Scheme or hand over borrowing powers to the devolved nations.

His comments came as the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced he will update the House of Commons on plans to “continue protecting jobs” for the winter, labelled a ‘Winter Economy Plan’ by the MP on Twitter.

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Mr Ross called on his own party in the UK to bring forward “continued government support” for “some time to come” ahead of Mr Sunak’s announcement tomorrow.

He said: “The UK Government has protected nearly a million Scottish jobs through the furlough scheme and other measures while delivering billions of pounds in Barnett Consequentials over and above the biggest Scottish Budget ever.

"Like people all over the UK, Scottish workers have all relied on that support over the last six months. Given the new cases emerging and the restrictions imposed, it's clear to me that there is a need for continued government support for some time to come.

“That’s the point I raised with the Prime Minister in Parliament on Tuesday and followed up with him in direct discussions on Wednesday afternoon.”

Mr Ross also criticised the First Minister for bringing up “tired political points” around the finances of the Scottish Government.

Nicola Sturgeon denied during her daily coronavirus briefing that she was playing politics with the issue, saying she did not want to be “hamstrung” by financial constraints.

Mr Ross added: “It’s through this constructive approach that we’ll get results. We’re only going to build Scotland back stronger after this pandemic if we unite and work together to find the best way forward.

“The middle of the pandemic is the wrong time to raise long-standing constitutional grievances. When Covid cases are rising again, it’s never been more necessary for all of us to work as one, instead of making the usual, tired political points.”

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