Stirling SNP MP Alyn Smith has called on the Chancellor to extend support schemes to support businesses and workers in the Stirling area during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking in an ‘Excluded UK’ debate in Parliament, Mr Smith pointed to a number of local businesses who have been left out from receiving government support, and now face serious financial hardship.
These include limited companies, where senior staff are paid as directors, and who have been ineligible as a result from receiving income support.
Alyn Smith MP said:
“As well as ensuring that all measures are taken to keep people safe, my key focus right now is protecting and supporting local business and jobs in the Stirling area.
“I’ve spoken to many businesses and workers over the past few months, each with a different set of challenges as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. What is clear to me is that there needs to be a long term, strategic plan to support and grow the economy out of this crisis.
“Limited Companies, where directors take a modest wage, have been left out entirely. These are music shops, pram shops, mortgage brokers, electricians, plumbers, sport equipment traders, entrepreneurs, to name a few. They truly are part of the backbone of the Scottish economy, and the lack of support they’ve received through the Chancellor has caused them severe hardship.
“To be clear, all of the support during this crisis has come through UK government borrowing. The Scottish Parliament does not have the legal power to borrow in these circumstances. In the SNP, we’ve welcomed some of the supporting measures already committed by the Chancellor, but business and workers need to see this reach more people, more strategically, and over a longer period to see us out of the crisis we’re in.
“As it stands, not only are these important businesses facing a continued lack of support from the Chancellor, but existing support mechanisms that protect jobs, such as the Furlough Scheme, is set to come to an end.
“This cannot be allowed to happen, and that is why I’ve called on the Chancellor to change direction on this. This UK government is in an important position where they could save millions of jobs or put them at severe risk. We need to see action from this Chancellor, or at least for the UK government to devolve all the relevant powers to allow the Scottish Government to do so.”