‘Won’t take YES for an answer!’ Boris Johnson explodes at SNP’s desperate furlough demands

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SNP MP Drew Hendry launched an attack on Boris Johnson over the job retention scheme. He accused the British leader of failing to provide a “clear, unequivocal yes” to Scotland. This comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak failed to confirm whether furlough support will be available to Scottish employers after England’s lockdown lifts on December 2.

Mr Hendry told the House of Commons: “He accused us of not being able to take yes for an answer on differentiated furlough for the other nations of the UK earlier.

“The problem, Prime Minister, is that we’ve not heard a clear, unequivocal yes to the question.

“So can he sort that now?

“If Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland need to introduce lockdown measures at different times to England, will the Chancellor be there to support us with furlough?”

The Prime Minister shot back a resounding “yes”.

He said: “I really don’t know how to exhaust my affirmative vocabulary any further.

“They won’t take yes for an answer.

“With great respect, I think I’ve answered the question that my friends opposite are going to pose.”

The furlough scheme has been extended until December as part of the new, month-long restrictions for England due to come in on November 5.

It was officially planned to end on October 31, to make way for the Job Support Scheme that intended to provide financial support to employers in regions hit by higher tier restrictions.

This was supposed to run for six months from November 1 until April 30, 2021.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had welcomed the support but added that she was “seeking urgent confirmation from the Treasury that it will be exactly as we asked for”.

She added: “I made clear last week that we might yet have to go further and we can’t rule out a move to level four for all parts of the country.

“While that decision would never be easy, there is no doubt that the availability of a more extensive furlough scheme would make it slightly less difficult, because workers would have more of their wages paid.

“The decision we have to weigh up is should we take the opportunity of more generous financial support to step harder on the brakes now, to drive down infections.

“It cannot be right that the only time that additional financial support is made available is when the south of England needs to go into a lockdown. That just isn’t fair given the situation we are dealing with.”

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