Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has called the Prime Minister’s approach to furlough funds across the devolved administrations “unfair and untenable.”
Speaking in the House during the Prime Minister’s statement on the second Covid-19 lockdown, Mr Carmichael accused the government of furthering the Scottish National Party’s argument for independence by failing to extend funding packages to Scotland in the case of a second lockdown north of the border.
Alistair Carmichael said:
“Those who want to break up the United Kingdom love nothing more than a manufactured grievance. But I have to tell the Prime Minister that he does nothing to help those of us who want a United Kingdom to stay together, when he is the one manufacturing the grievances.”
“His position in relation to the future access to furlough funds for Scotland and other devolved administrations is unfair and untenable, and it has to change. He doesn’t need to take my word for it - he can ask his honourable friend for Moray, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, because he thinks exactly the same.”
In response, the Prime Minister replied, “Mr Speaker, I must respectfully remind the Rt Hon gentleman what I have said repeatedly throughout this afternoon: the furlough scheme is UK-wide, and it will continue to apply in Scotland, of course it will.”
Reacting after the exchange, Alistair Carmichael said:
“Mr Johnson appears to have conveniently forgotten that during talks over the weekend, the Scottish government’s requests for furlough funding were denied by his government. This is grossly unfair, and only adds fuel to the SNP’s fire. Scottish workers will rely on the furlough scheme just as much as those in England should there be another lockdown, and the government must extend its support to include the devolved administrations.”