On Wednesday Labour MSPs voted against an SNP amendment for the UK government to extend the furlough scheme – despite repeated calls for an extension from both Kier Starmer and Richard Leonard.
After the debate on Sustainable Aviation Beyond COVID-19 Scottish Labour voted against the amendment which “notes the importance of government measures, such as the job retention scheme, to aviation businesses and calls for it to be extended.”
Among the opposition MSPs who voted against the amendment was Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton whose Edinburgh Western Constituency includes many of the 750 workers at Edinburgh Airport, 250 of whom have already lost their jobs.
According to new research, extending the furlough scheme by eight months could save 61,000 jobs in Scotland.
A Scottish Government report estimates that the direct cost of extending the furlough scheme in Scotland to June is around £850 million – and wider economic benefits, such as increasing GDP, mean that it could pay for itself.
SNP MSP for Paisley George Adam said: “It beggars belief that Labour voted against extending the furlough scheme. They have once again put political posturing ahead of public duty, and their empty rhetoric on jobs and living standards has been well and truly exposed. The hard reality is that without the normal powers of an independent country, Scotland is unable to extend the furlough scheme and deliver the scale of fiscal stimulus needed to properly protect our economy. Instead of sitting on their hands, Labour should join the SNP in calling for this Tory government to hand Holyrood the financial powers it needs so that we can protect Scottish jobs.”
Many countries in Europe, both large and small, have a longer furlough scheme than the UK and being part of the UK has damaged Scotland’s Covid-19 response.
The voting record on the SNP amendment can be found here: