IAN Blackford has urged the Prime Minister not to sell out workers by stopping the furlough scheme amid a host of new covid restrictions.

The SNP's Westminster Leader urged Boris Johnson to rethink ending the furlough scheme in six weeks, echoed by his colleague Kenny Macaskill.

The Prime Minister vowed to "throw his arms" around the workforce and businesses, however would not commit to extending the job-saving scheme beyond October. 

Mr Blackford said: "If we take the right actions now, there is nothing inevitable about the exponential spread of this virus. If we act decisively, if we move sharply, if we take tough decisions now, we can get the virus under control.

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"It is only right that citizens are provided with financial support amid the health and economic uncertainty

"Analysis by the Scottish government has already shown that extending the furlough scheme could save around 61,000 jobs in Scotland. France, Germany and Ireland have already extended their job retention schemes into next year, but the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have rigidly refused to."

Mr Blackford said that "u-turns and mixed messaging" had defined Boris Johnson's leadership, and added: "[Workers] deserve certainty and they deserve an answer. Will this government now save these jobs and extend the furlough scheme beyond October?

"Prime Minister, do not throw workers workers, onto the scrapheap through no fault of their own."

The Herald:

Later SNP MP for East Lothian Mr Macaskill said: "We will have to endure [these measures] for six months or more, but it's less than six weeks until the furlough scheme ends. Germany, France and even Ireland are extending furlough schemes for specific sectors.

"It's a political, not a health decision.

"Many communities in my constituency were devastated by political decisions made by Tory governments in the 1980s that led to mass unemployment. Are they now to have that revisited upon them in 2020 or will the Prime Minister extend the furlough scheme?"

The Prime Minister replied: "Our objective is to keep businesses going, and to keep the economy moving as much as we can...

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"I would remind you that in Scotland alone the Barnett consequentials of the support are well over £5bn.

"We will continue to send that support throughout the whole of the UK, to put our arms around the whole of the workforce in the UK, and to protect jobs and livelihoods. But what we also want to see is those businesses, continuing and jobs being created."