Stirling MP Alyn Smith has criticised the UK government for a major u-turn in the amount of funding being provided to Scotland to support businesses during lockdown.
On Tuesday (5 Jan), the Chancellor announced a £4.6 billion package of support that would benefit businesses affected by lockdown restrictions. In a press release, the government detailed that £375 million of this package would be additional funding for Scotland.
However, the Scottish Government highlighted that this wasn’t the case and that the announcement referred to funds that had already been allocated. This was confirmed by the UK Treasury, and the government was forced to recall and change their official statement.
Mr Smith has been working closely with local businesses and campaign groups in the Stirling area who have, so far, not received the support that they need. Ahead of the Christmas recess, Mr Smith wrote to the Chancellor, calling for more and wider spread support to help struggling businesses in the Stirling Constituency.
Commenting, he said:
‘This was a ludicrous claim for the Chancellor to have made, one that was shared widely by his Scottish Tory colleagues, that Scotland was to receive £375 million in additional funding, when the reality is not the case.
‘Had this been additional funding to help businesses like those struggling in my constituency, I would have been amongst the first to welcome it and praise the UK government for its actions. However, all they seem to have done here is perform a PR stunt that didn’t stand up to simple fact checking.
‘Meanwhile, workers, businesses, and freelancers who have so far not received the funding support they need have entered into a new year with their situation worsening by the day.
‘Whilst Westminster holds all of the borrowing power in the UK for situations like this, businesses need to see a greater commitment to supporting the economy. I will continue to call on the UK government to put its money where its mouth is and offer real financial support to people and businesses who are in a dreadful situation through no fault of their own.‘