Rachael Hamilton MSP and John Lamont MP have welcomed an extra £1.1 billion of funding to the Scottish Government, taking the total UK cash delivered to fight Covid-19 to £9.7 billion.
Both Borders politicians have called for the Scottish Government to use extra UK Government funding to deliver a schools catch-up plan and pivotal business support.
The Scottish Conservatives launched a schools catch-up plan on Friday, which would see children benefit from a national tutoring service to prevent the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils growing even wider.
The Borders parliamentarians are also calling for the funding to go towards helping to protect local jobs by providing 100% rates relief for Borders’ businesses in the leisure, retail, hospitality and aviation industries.
The rates relief extension was one of the key budget demands of the Scottish Conservatives a few weeks ago, but the Scottish Government only committed to extending relief for three months instead of the full year.
Further to the boost in funding, and in recognition of the exceptional circumstances and in response to calls for flexibility, the Scottish Government will be able to carry over any of the £1.1 billion not spent this year into the 2021/22 financial year on top of their existing tools to transfer funding between years.
Mrs Hamilton and Mr Lamont both agree that the additional funding for Scotland shows the might of the United Kingdom, and have urged the Scottish Government to use the additional money wisely on helping the country begin to recover.
Rachael Hamilton MSP said:
“The UK Government has provided unprecedented funding throughout this crisis and this latest round is very much welcomed.
“It is now crucial the SNP Government uses the funding sensibly to help businesses to build back up and protect jobs in the coming months.
“We know young people and children have been impacted with the closure of schools, so we need to see targeted educational interventions to help them catch up.
“Our party leader Douglas Ross announced a plan last Friday which sets out a tutoring programme to help school pupils affected by reduced face-to-face teaching.
“I would urge the Scottish Government to make the full and best use of this funding to support businesses and further a tutoring programme”.
John Lamont MP said:
“This massive injection of funding from the UK Government has been a vital tool in mitigating the effects of coronavirus; helping to protect local jobs, supporting NHS workers, and looking after our most vulnerable.
“And this £9.7 billion comes on top of the direct UK Government support, including the furlough scheme, the self-employment scheme and delivering loans to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
“This is not to mention that the bulk of Covid-19 testing in Scotland is provided by the UK Government, as are all the vaccines that are helping to protect our friends and family.
“It is vital that the Scottish Government get this funding out to those who need it as quickly as possible.”