The SNP has renewed calls on the UK government to release the £21.3bn of Covid-19 reserves in order to support the economy and businesses.
In a letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Alison Thewliss MP called for the multi-billion pound Covid-19 reserve, set out in the UK Spending Review, to be released so could Scotland receive its share.
£1.7bn was allocated to devolved spending areas.
The SNP’s Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP said: “At a time when businesses face a further tightening of public health measures to tackle the pandemic, and the emergence of new variants of the virus increases pressure on the NHS, it is critical that the Treasury does everything it can to support businesses, the economy and public services.
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“While the funding brought forward so far has been welcome, it is clear that the sheer scale of the challenge posed by the coronavirus crisis demands strengthened financial measures to prevent firms from going under, jobs being lost and households pushed into hardship.
“I have written to the Chancellor calling on the UK government to step up to the challenge and urgently release the £21.3bn of reserves set out in the UK Spending Review – which, if released, would see Scotland receive its share of around £1.7bn.
“The UK government must act now to strengthen support and fix the gaps in measures, extend job support schemes for as long as necessary – rather than setting arbitrary deadlines – and devolve financial powers to Holyrood so it can take the necessary steps.
“Scotland has been left to tackle this pandemic with one hand tied behind our back. It’s clear that only by becoming an independent country will we be able to properly protect our interests, economy, businesses and people’s livelihoods.”
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The call comes amid new restrictions in an attempt to quash strains of the virus.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK economy shrank by 2.6% towards the end of 2020.
Yesterday, the Scottish Government said it had paid out more than £55 million in coronavirus support to businesses between October and December.