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Tue, 11 August 2020

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We need investment of no less than £80bn to protect jobs now and for the future

We need investment of no less than £80bn to protect jobs now and for the future

The Chancellor must extend the furlough and SEISS schemes for as long as each of the four UK nations require it, writes Alison Thewliss MP. | PA Images

3 min read

The SNP has a five-point plan to kickstart the economy, protect jobs and incomes, and build a fairer society.

The Chancellor has a series of choices facing him in his Financial Statement.

As the SNP’s Shadow Chancellor, I would encourage him to show boldness and take significant further steps to bolster recovery and more from this position of economic crisis to a greener, sustainable future.

The SNP has a five-point plan to kickstart the economy, protect jobs and incomes, and build a fairer society.

The SNP seek urgent devolution of the financial powers necessary for the Scottish Parliament to deliver a tailored response and secure a strong recovery for Scotland.

We have looked to the ambitious stimulus packages of our European neighbours and propose an overall package of investment of no less than £80billion in new money, equating to approximately 4% of UK GDP - the equivalent investment being made by Germany. This would be allow for the level of investment needed to secure jobs not just now, but for the future.

The Scottish Parliament currently has a very restricted ability to borrow, under a fiscal framework which was not designed with Covid-19 in mind. The SNP seek urgent devolution of the financial powers necessary for the Scottish Parliament to deliver a tailored response and secure a strong recovery for Scotland.

The recent Treasury Select Committee report, and work by Excluded UK highlight the substantial gaps in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employment Income Support Schemes, with between one and three million people left with no support at all.

The SNP believe the Chancellor must fill these gaps and extend the furlough and SEISS schemes for as long as each of the four UK nations require it - so no one is left behind.

Particular sectors such as tourism, hospitality, and the arts remain fragile and may need furlough for longer. Furthermore, there is a real risk that with future outbreaks such as happened in Leicester, that the support will not be there when it is needed.

A report by the Social Mobility Commission last week warned that UK child poverty is projected to increase to 5.2 million by 2022 - with Covid-19 adding to the problem. 

Now is the time to strengthen measures to reverse rising child poverty - including a £20 per week increase in the child element of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits. This will help families put food on the table and clothes on children’s backs at a time when many are struggling.

The Tories must also scrap the callous two-child cap, re-establish child poverty targets, introduce a real living wage for all ages, and roll-out an emergency basic payment to protect families.  

Lastly, we support a temporary reduction in VAT, particularly in tourism, to stimulate spending, alongside a two pence cut to employer's National Insurance contributions to protect jobs and reduce the cost of hiring staff.

We want to put significant and sustained investment in the future at the heart of the Chancellor’s plans, and to ensure that Scotland has the widest possible range of powers to tackle Covid-19. Only by doing this can we avoid the worst of this storm and protect both businesses and the health and wellbeing of our people.

 

Alison Thewliss is the Scottish National Party MP for Glasgow Central and shadow spokesperson for the treasury.

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Coronavirus Economy
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