Universal Credit uplift, furlough extension among Scottish Government budget asks

- Advertisement -

Extending the £20 Universal Credit uplift and the furlough scheme are among the Scottish Government’s asks ahead of this week’s UK Budget.

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has urged the UK Government to support Scotland as lockdown measures are set to be eased over the next six weeks.

As a result of the pandemic, the UK Government increased the weekly payment of its flagship benefit by £20.

Ms Forbes said Joseph Rowntree Foundation research said ending the uplift would lead to 500,000 being pushed into poverty.

Rishi Sunak in the House of Commons
Rishi Sunak will announce the UK budget this week (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

With the furlough scheme due to end in April, three months before the Scottish and UK Governments have said they hope to have the entirety of the adult population vaccinated and two months ahead of the earliest point where restrictions in England can be ended, Kate Forbes again urged its extension.

“It is clear that the scheme needs to be extended beyond the present end date of April 2021,” she wrote.

“Whilst the rollout of vaccines provides hope that we will soon be able to return to normal, there remains a high level of uncertainty over how quickly public health restrictions can be lifted.

“It is clear that furlough remains the appropriate support for businesses that are not able to fully open, and it is essential that the UK Government commits to it remaining available to businesses in Scotland as long as restrictions remain in place.”

The Scottish Government is currently in the process of passing its budget, having to announce its draft plans before the UK Budget was announced after a delay for the second year in a row.

She said: “I have built my budget around reasonable expectations that UK Government expenditure in devolved areas in England would generate Barnett consequentials, and so I would be grateful for assurances that this £400 million gap in the Scottish budget will be filled.

“Scottish Government funding should not be cut to pay for UK Government policies that are designed to undermine the devolution settlement.”

A spokeswoman for the Treasury said: “The UK Government has protected nearly a million jobs and thousands of businesses in Scotland since the start of the pandemic.

“And just last week the Treasury provided the Scottish Government with an additional £1.1 billion, enabling them to support people, businesses and public services affected by coronavirus.

“At the Budget the Chancellor will set out the next stage of our plan to protect and create jobs in all corners of the UK.”

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.