Alison Thewliss, the SNP`s shadow chancellor challenged Chancellor Rishi Sunak`s plan to “prematurely” end furlough support for Scotland.
According to figures from the Treasury, 173,100 Scottish employees were benefitting from the furlough support by the end of May. Due to the cutting of government support, employers had to pay 10 per cent of their employees` wages from the beginning of this month, increasing to 20 per cent in August.
Mr Sunak who is set to visit Scotland on a “Union-boosting” tour has been urged to apologize for the changes to furlough.
The SNP’s shadow chancellor Alison Thewliss said: “The Chancellor should use his visit to Scotland to apologise to the people and businesses here for withdrawing furlough support prematurely and risking thousands of unnecessary redundancies.
“Although things are looking more positive, we are not out of the Covid woods yet. Many sectors and businesses across the UK are still not operating at full capacity, and many of those that are will need continued support to stay afloat.
“That must include action on the looming debt crisis facing businesses through the repayment of UK Government business loans.
“I would urge Rishi Sunak to explain to the people of Scotland why he is short-changing us on youth jobs, and ploughing ahead with Universal Credit cuts that will undermine the Scottish Child Payment and plunge half a million people into poverty when at the same time he can find £250 million for a UK government yacht.
“As for his boasts about the supposed strength of the UK, the reality is that the UK is the poorest country per head amongst its neighbours in north-west Europe, with countries similar in size or smaller than Scotland being the fairest and most prosperous.”