KATE Forbes has blasted the Chancellor for taking an “unacceptable and unsustainable position” - accusing him of having “written a blank cheque for business support” in England but “refusing to do the same for Scotland”.

The Scottish Finance Secretary has reacted in anger to the lack of communication and clarity from the UK Government over funding to support businesses having to close in emergency restrictions - with a tiered strategy to be rolled out in sync with a new job support scheme in ten days.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the furlough replacement, the job support scheme, will now be expanded to cover people doing just 20 per cent of their usual work under coronavirus restrictions.

But Ms Forbes has warned that more funding is required for Scotland – an indication that the UK Government could be set for another battle after Manchester mayor Andy Burnham last week demanded a fairer deal.

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Ms Forbes said: “The Chancellor has written a blank cheque for business support grants in England but is refusing to do the same for Scotland. That is an unacceptable and unsustainable position and once again underlines the urgent case for Scotland having control of its own finances.

“We are being kept in the dark on future funding and denied the ability to borrow if we need to – and it is utterly wrong for Scottish business to not have the same level of certainty on financial support that is available to businesses in England.

“The Chancellor must urgently commit to providing the Scottish Government with the funding we require to support Scottish businesses thorough this pandemic.”

Mr Sunak has also announced additional funding to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector in England.

The Finance Secretary said she welcomed “elements” of Mr Sunak’s statement – pointing to the additional help being provided in the job support scheme. But Ms Forbes warned “it has taken three announcements in the space of a month on the job support scheme to get to this point”, claiming the dithering is “causing great worry and anxiety to businesses”.

She said: “The Chancellor has been too slow, as we are just over one week away from the end of the furlough scheme and many businesses are already in lockdown.

READ MORE: Coronavirus Scotland: Warning hospitality loopholes 'undermining' public health

“That is why it is important that the Scottish Government can respond at pace to business need and I am concerned that the Chancellor made clear today that the recent support to businesses in England will not generate further consequential funding for Scotland.”

Ms Forbes added: “The £700 million announced two weeks ago, which is meant to cover all our additional funding pressures for the final six months of the year, is clearly insufficient to mitigate the impact on our economy and public services.

“We will set out tomorrow our support package for businesses which may be required to close under the new tier system. As it stands we will have to do that without the clarity we need from the UK Government on the additional consequentials generated by today’s announcement.”