Douglas Ross welcomes jobs-first UK Government plan
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has welcomed the UK Government’s new financial support package as the right way forward to protect Scottish jobs, after raising the need for more assistance with both the Prime Minister and Chancellor earlier this week.
Rishi Sunak’s Winter Economy Plan includes a new Job Support Scheme to guarantee pay packets, a new Pay as You Grow Scheme to extend Bounce Back Loans, and an extension of the VAT cut for hospitality and tourism.
It follows the immense success of the UK Government furlough scheme and the £6.5 billion boost that the Scottish Budget received from the UK Government to help tackle coronavirus.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “The level of support that Scotland has received from Rishi Sunak throughout this pandemic has been immense.
“He started by saving nearly a million Scottish jobs through the UK Government furlough scheme and has followed it up with a jobs-first Winter Economy Plan to protect wages and livelihoods.
“This is the decisive action we needed from the UK Government to keep backing businesses and supporting jobs. It’s the right way forward in this next phase of the pandemic.
“We now need both of Scotland’s governments to work more closely together on the necessary steps to protect Scottish jobs in the next six months.”
Urgent action needed to boost university testing capacity
The Scottish Conservatives has called for the government to accelerate the opening of walk-in testing centres to help tackle the increase in Covid cases among students.
Outbreaks at universities across Scotland have forced 1,000 people into self-isolation and hundreds of students have tested positive for Covid.
At First Minister’s Questions, Ruth Davidson raised the need for routine testing at university campuses, the recruitment of more contact tracers, and a faster rollout of walk-in testing centres.
Currently two of a planned 22 testing centres have opened, with that number expected to rise to 11 by the end of October.
Scottish Conservative Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson said: “Nobody wants to see restrictions placed on students, however, a large number of the new positive Covid cases across Scotland are directly linked to universities.
“There is still time to get on top of these outbreaks before they spread more widely.
“Routine testing at university campuses and an accelerated rollout of walk-in testing centres would help us to suppress the virus at the earliest stage, before it has a chance to spread widely to communities.
“But we can’t wait over a month to get these centres up and running - we need them now. The Scottish Government need to boost capacity while these outbreaks can still be managed.”