Scotland will have access to furlough scheme for any future lockdown

Scotland will have access to the furlough scheme if Holyrood brings in another lockdown, Boris Johnson has confirmed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the devolved nations would have access to the funds
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the devolved nations would have access to the funds

The Prime Minister was today asked if the furlough scheme would be available to devolved nations if they decided to introduce their own measures either now or in the future.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross had asked the question after several other MPs failed to get confirmation.

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The Moray MP asked: “The furlough scheme is UK wide for the next month, but the crucial answer we need is will it be available to other nations of the UK if in the future the science demands that further lockdowns are required anywhere in the country?

“If he can't give that commitment, will he explain why it seems an English job is more important than a Welsh, Northern Irish or Scottish one?”.

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Scottish Government 'cannot rule out' Scotland lockdown amid calls for furlough ...

In news that will see Scotland have the resources to support workers if Nicola Sturgeon brings in more measures, the PM confirmed the furlough scheme would be made available widely.

He answered: “The furlough scheme is a UK-wide scheme.

“If other parts of the UK decide to go into measures which require the furlough scheme, then of course it is available to them. That has to be right.

“That applies not just now, but in the future as well.”

The Treasury had previously refused to confirm if the scheme would be available in other parts of the country if they locked down at a different time to England.

Earlier the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford had claimed Scotland was being excluded, adding it “buried the nonsense of a union of equals".

He told the PM: “A mini extension to furlough was only granted at the 11th hour when one part of the United Kingdom needed it.

"This is a democratic disgrace. The Prime Minister only acted when England needed support.”

Mr Blackford had also asked about the furlough scheme during lockdown.

He said: "If requested by the devolved governments, particularly if they need to put in place additional lockdown measures, will the Prime Minister guarantee that the Treasury will make 80 per cent furlough payments available if Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish workers or businesses need it over the coming months?".

His comments sparked a furious response from the PM, who accused him of making things up.

Mr Johnson responded: "It is true that Scotland is currently taking a slightly different approach, but I thought he was talking complete nonsense about the non- application of furlough in Scotland, absolute nonsense.

"The Treasury of this country, the United Kingdom, has supplied £7.2 billion to support the people of Scotland, quite right too.

"And it has protected 900,000 jobs in Scotland that is thanks to the might of the UK Treasury."

It comes as the Deputy First Minister John Swinney admitted he was not surprised by the move to put England into lockdown from Thursday and said he could not categorically rule out the Scottish government abandoning their new levels system.

The new measures will see different parts of Scotland subject to a differing severity of restrictions depending on the prevalence of Covid-19.

Much of the Central Belt will be in level three, with other areas in level two and parts of the Highlands and islands in level one.

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