Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has said more funding will be needed in Scotland after Chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote a “blank cheque” for England.
Mr Sunak announced on Thursday that the Job Support Scheme, a replacement for the furlough scheme which is due to end this month, will be made more generous, with less expected from employers and fewer hours needed to be worked by staff.
Grants of up to £2,100 have also been announced for businesses in the second tier of the English alert system.
The announcements are believed to be worth billions of pounds.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon later tweeted that Mr Sunak had told the Scottish Government there would not be any extra funding for Scotland as a result of Thursday’s announcements.
She said: “The Chancellor has told @scotgov that today’s announcements won’t deliver any upfront extra cash for Scotland beyond the (welcome) £700m announced recently – & he won’t confirm the range of extra spending (beyond business support) that it’s expected to pay for or for how long.”
Ms Forbes has accused the Treasury of keeping Scotland “in the dark” about future funding for businesses north of the border.
She said: “The Chancellor has written a blank cheque for business support grants in England, but is refusing to do the same for Scotland.
“That is an unacceptable and unsustainable position and once again underlines the urgent case for Scotland having control of its own finances.
“We are being kept in the dark on future funding and denied the ability to borrow if we need to – and it is utterly wrong for Scottish business to not have the same level of certainty on financial support that is available to businesses in England.
“The Chancellor must urgently commit to providing the Scottish Government with the funding we require to support Scottish businesses thorough this pandemic.”
Ms Forbes had added her voice to criticism of the new Job Support Scheme as not going far enough when it was announced as a replacement for the widely praised furlough.
She has now welcomed the pledge to extend the initiative, but said the changes should not have taken so long.
Ms Forbes said: “It has taken three announcements in the space of a month on the Job Support Scheme to get to this point, causing great worry and anxiety to businesses.
“The Chancellor has been too slow as we are just over one week away from the end of the furlough scheme and many businesses are already in lockdown.”
Two weeks ago, a £700 million funding boost for Scotland was announced by the UK Government, but Ms Forbes has said that will be “insufficient” in meeting the needs of Scottish people and businesses during the remainder of the pandemic.
The Scottish Government will outline its framework for dealing with the second wave of the pandemic on Friday, and it is expected to include a new five-tiered system similar to an expanded version of the three-tier system in England.
The framework will also detail the amount of support available to business, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said is the “maximum” that can be offered.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The UK Government has been clear we will continue to support jobs and businesses in Scotland through the difficult months ahead.
“The Chancellor has today announced a further increase in support through the Job Support and Self-Employed schemes. That additional support for businesses and jobs is very welcome.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe