Thu 24 Sep, 2020

This scheme is conditional on people going back to work, rather than keeping themselves safe Patrick Harvie

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that instead of extendin gthe furlough scheme, employees will have to be working for at least a third of their normal hours to qualify for a new jobs support scheme which will see the government pay the rest of their wages.

Responding to the announcement, Scottish Greens finance spokesperson and co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “This partial U-turn from the UK Government comes late in the day and is no replacement for the furlough scheme. Leaving this to the last minute has caused unnecessary hardship and uncertainty for millions and has already meant jobs have needlessly been cut.

“This scheme is conditional on people going back to work, rather than keeping themselves safe. It would have been fairer to simply extend the furlough scheme.

"The chancellor may have a moral objection to supporting people in what he thinks are ‘unviable’ jobs, but the hard truth is as more small businesses continue to struggle through no fault of their own, many, many more jobs will fail to meet this requirement. There are business still unable to operate at all due to the restrictions, and support for part time work won’t help them. There are still potentially too many cracks for people to fall through.

“There are also cracks in the support for self-employed people, so while it is encouraging that this support looks set to continue, the system is in need of urgent repair so all people in precarious positions are supported.

“There is also no long-term plan. Unlike Germany and France, the UK has no commitments on job creation and retraining. We need stimulus on the green economy of the future to create new jobs in home efficiency and clean energy and manufacturing.”

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