Mon 21 Sep, 2020

Responding to the First Minister’s coronavirus briefing this afternoon, Scottish Greens Co-Leader Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“The Scottish Greens have supported a precautionary approach to dealing with the pandemic throughout and we will continue to do so. It’s clear that we have now entered a second wave and it’s vital that both governments provide clear support and advice to the public.

“The First Minister is right to say that people need to be supported to self-isolate and I look forward to scrutinising the details of the proposed support package for self-isolation. It’s vital that this covers more than just short-term financial support – people with insecure contracts need to know they won’t lose their job for simply complying with the rules. This is clearly needed to ensure people are able to abide by official guidance and it is quite remarkable that it has taken until this stage to develop such a package.

“It’s clear that the UK furlough scheme must be extended too. The warning from the UK Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Officer shows that it may take at least six months to get on top of this outbreak and it would be utterly irresponsible to end financial support for people during that time.

“I understand why the Scottish Government wants to align in a four nations approach, and if that can be done then that is to be welcomed, but urgent action is needed to tackle this upsurge in cases. Action cannot be delayed merely so we can wait for the UK Government to catch up.

“What’s been clear throughout this pandemic is that time and again the public have done their bit. Most people have complied with guidance and rules and helped reduce the spread of the virus. It’s essential that government does its bit and ensures that testing capacity and financial support is available to all across the country.”

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