Tue 8 Sep, 2020

Ending the job retention – furlough – scheme will limit the ability of government to introduce local lockdowns the Scottish Greens said today. 

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, the party’s health spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP raised serious concerns about the public health implications of ending the furlough scheme. 

Alison Johnstone MSP said: 

“The Scottish Greens have strongly supported a precautionary approach to managing the Covid19 pandemic, and so like many we are increasingly concerned about the public health implications of prematurely ending the furlough scheme.

“Additional restrictions have been imposed on Glasgow and much of the west in the last week and it is hoped that this will reduce the spread of the virus, but if they don’t it may be necessary to consider further measures, and the removal of the furlough scheme by the Westminster Government severely restricts the public health action that can be taken in Scotland. 

“The Chancellor must reconsider ending the furlough scheme on a cliff edge and instead put workers and public health first.”

At Topical Question time the Lothian MSP also raised concerns raised by teaching union EIS that social distancing is all but absent from secondary schools. 

Ms Johnstone added: 

“We are now aware of incidents of transmission of the virus in schools, and a recent EIS survey shows social distancing is largely absent from high schools. EIS has called for more teachers to be recruited; reducing class sizes and therefore enabling social distancing. I urge the Scottish Government to listen to teachers and take urgent action that protects pupils and teachers.” 

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