Labour MSPs have voted against an amendment calling for the UK government to extend the furlough scheme - despite repeated calls for an extension from both Kier Starmer and Richard Leonard.

Scottish Labour today voted against an SNP amendment which “notes the importance of government measures, such as the job retention scheme, to aviation businesses and calls for it to be extended.”

According to new research, extending the furlough scheme by eight months could save 61,000 jobs in Scotland.

A Scottish Government report estimates that the direct cost of extending the furlough scheme in Scotland to June is around £850 million – and wider economic benefits, such as increasing GDP, mean that it could pay for itself.

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Commenting, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse Christina McKelvie said: 

“The very real damage that will be done to those across Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse Constituency and Scotland who are reliant on the furlough scheme should shame the UK Government. And for Scottish Labour and the Scottish Tories to vote against an amendment to support extending these schemes is unconscionable. The 61,000 people across Scotland whose jobs are on the line will lay the blame solely at their door.

“This is just the latest example of why we need the normal powers of an independent country. If we were independent then Scotland could follow the example of our European neighbours and extend the furlough scheme and deliver a scale of fiscal stimulus needed to properly protect our economy.

“Instead of sitting on their hands, Labour should join the SNP in calling for this Tory government to hand Holyrood the financial powers it needs to protect Scottish jobs.

“It’s simply unbelievable that the Labour party actually voted against extending the furlough scheme today - instead siding with the Tories to put thousands of Scottish jobs at risk when the scheme ends in less than six weeks. Voters will remember this.”