IAN Blackford has told Boris Johnson his attitude towards those excluded from coronavirus support is 'simply not good enough'.

During this afternoon's Prime Minister's Questions, the SNP Westminster leader revealed that eight people who have not received any government support had taken their own lives in the past 10 days. 

He called on Mr Johnson to have a formal meeting with the members of Excluded UK, a group which represents around 3million people who have fallen through the gaps in economic support provided by the Treasury.

He said: " This morning for the first time most people have woken up with a genuine sense of hope...But for many, that hope on the horizon remains far too distant.

"There are millions who still haven't had a single penny of support from the UK government as others rightly received help.

"Yesterday I met with Excluded UK, who represent many of these 3 million citizens...Prime Minister, they told me something genuinely shocking.

"They are aware of eight people who have taken their lives in the last 10 days. Eight people in 10 days, Prime Minister.

"We are now a little over three weeks from Christmas. These people need help."

Mr Johnson acknowledged this "has been a very tough time for the country" and said:" I obviously sympathise very much with those who have taken their lives and their families."

He continued that the government was"investing massively in mental health support across the country" and added: "I must repeat for self employed people across the country I know there are hard to reach people, but they are also supported with the increases in in Universal Credit and the many other means of support that are currently on offer."

Mr Johnson added that the support provided by Westminster "compared favourably" to that of other countries.

Mr Blackford said his repsonse was "simply not good enough" and urged Mr Johnson to meet with Excluded UK personally. 

Fellow SNP MP Richard Thomson asked the PM if he woudl ensure the Treasury did not "snaffle back" tax from the £500 "thank you" payment being given to health and social care staff by the Scottish Government.

However the Prime Minister said the issue was "a matter for the Scottish Government, which has the fiscal freedom to do that."

Leader of the Opposition Kier Starmer asked the Prime Minister about the vaccine which has been approved for use against Covid-19 today, and of which 800,000 doses are thought to be available before new year.  

The Labour leader asked about the priority list for vaccinations and said: “Now I’m not criticising that list in the slightest but it’s obvious that’s more than 400,000 people.

“The Prime Minister will understand how anxious people are in those particular groups after having sacrificed so much, so can the Prime Minister tell us the answer to the question they’re going to be asking this morning, which is when does he expect that all people in those two top groups can expect to be vaccinated?”

Mr Johnson replied: “I think at this stage it is very, very important that people do not get their hopes up too soon about the speed with which we will be able to roll out this vaccine.

“It is beginning, as my right honourable friend the Health Secretary has said, from next week. We are expecting several million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine before the end of the year.

“We will then be rolling it out as fast as we possibly can.”

He also raised the issue of support for workers at collapsed retailers Arcadia Group and Debenhams, and about their pensions.

Mr Johnson replied: “We’re looking at what we can do to protect all the jobs that have been lost across the country and (Mr Sharma) has written to the Insolvency Service to look at the conduct of the Arcadia directors.

“We will be doing everything we can to restore the high streets of this country with our £1 billion high streets fund and the levelling up fund.”