SNP MP for Gordon, Richard Thomson, has joined the calls for the Chancellor to ditch plans to end the furlough scheme prematurely, and to use the upcoming Budget to extend support and make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent.
Ahead of the Budget next month, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has urged Rishi Sunak to "recognise and address the multiple inequalities exacerbated by the crisis," and said that emergency support should be extended. It added that the furlough scheme "should not be cut completely in one go."
The IFS also said that there is "no such need" to phase out a £20-a-week increase in UC, adding that: “Given that basic support for the childless unemployed has not risen in 50 years as earnings have more than doubled, and is much less generous than in many comparable countries, there is a case for maintaining this increase."
Following the IFS words, SNP MPs have been calling for the Chancellor to heed their advice with regards to furlough, making the £20 Universal Credit increase permanent and extending it to legacy benefits.
Commenting, Mr Thomson MP said: “In spite of its flaws, the furlough scheme has supported many individuals and kept a large portion of our population in employment through the trials of the pandemic. Now is not the time to cut off that lifeline without inclusion of further measures and a sufficient safety net in the upcoming Budget.
“The SNP has repeatedly called for both the Prime Minister and Chancellor to take steps to extend the furlough scheme instead of planning when to kickstart the uncertainty and struggles that would be inevitable if they cease the support on a certain date.
“The Chancellor must utilise this Budget to rule out a return to austerity, scrap the Tory public sector pay freeze and commit the funds to help the 3 million excluded as well as boost the economy in the wake of the pandemic.”