‘We need clarity!’ SNP slammed for claiming ‘no money available’ to aid Covid recovery

Scotland: Fraser calls for ‘clarity’ on finances and regulations

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The Scottish Conservative’s Murdo Fraser has shut down the SNP over claims the UK Government is not stepping up with funding to support Scotland’s Covid recovery. Nicola Sturgeon has this week demanded the UK Government step up and provide more financial support to Scottish businesses. Mr Fraser has argued that financial support has been offered by Downing Street to the Scottish Government. 

Mr Fraser told the BBC Scotland programme The Nines: “I think we still need some clarity around the business situation.

“We have just heard a bit about that tonight, but I think businesses will want to know, in advance of midnight Friday, when these new regulations will come in, exactly what they’re expected to do.

“And that doesn’t give them a lot of time to prepare and of course, we do need to see financial support for businesses which have already been affected, and others that will.

Askes where the money was coming from, Mr Fraser replied: “Well, of course, having told us just what was it last Wednesday, Kate Forbes said there was no money available.

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“She’s managed to find the 100 million.

“We’ve also heard today from Treasury, there will be additional support coming from the UK government that’s additional money over and above what is in the Scottish Government’s budget.

Mr Fraser stressed the money would not have to be paid back by the Scottish Government.

He said: “Well, firstly, I understand from what I’ve seen from Treasury is not alone.

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“It is new money because it’s over and above what’s in the Scottish Government’s budget for the current year.

“So if money has not been allocated, is new money that is coming from the Treasury.”

At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday Ms Sturgeon said she had written to Boris Johnson “appealing to him to put the necessary support schemes in place.”

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “There are simply no mechanisms available to the devolved administrations to trigger the scale of finance needed to support such schemes.

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“We need the UK Government to act urgently and in the same way some other countries are already doing.”

“We must not sleepwalk into an emergency that for both health and business will be much greater as a result of inaction than it will be if we act firmly and strongly now,” she added.

“I have therefore written to the Prime Minister this morning appealing to him to put the necessary support schemes in place.

“Such is the urgency I’ve asked to speak to him directly later today.”

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