Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed news of an extension to the government furlough scheme in a speech in the House of Commons, but noted that further action was needed to address particular needs for self-employed people and the tourism industry. Mr Carmichael called for a 12-month programme of support for tourism to reflect its seasonal nature.
Speaking remotely, Mr Carmichael said:
“I welcome the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of his intention to extend the furlough scheme. For businesses in the Northern Isles that will provide welcome clarity, which is very much needed.
“However, my welcome for the announcement is very much tempered by my regret that so much of the provision that remains for self-employed people is wholly inadequate. We still have no answer for those small business people who rely on dividend income rather than a salary for their income. The Government are allowing too many self-employed people to be left behind.”
“Here in the Northern Isles we particularly see that in the visitor economy, which is crucial to us. The assistance for bed and breakfast operators, or operators of self-catering accommodation, leaves too many people without the assistance they need.
“A support scheme that finishes at the end of August, or September or whenever it will be, simply will not be adequate in parts of the country such as ours. Those parts of the country that have seasonal tourism require a 12-month programme, or else the tourism industry that will be left to be resurrected at the end of this process will be that much weaker, and the rebuilding and recovery that much more difficult.”