Jackie Baillie MSP has warned that Scotland’s furloughed workers face a “harsh winter” due to the end of the employment support scheme on Saturday.

Household incomes for many workers will be substantially cut after furlough comes to an end this weekend. As of 31 August, 242,600 workers were still furloughed across Scotland, with more women furloughed than men. In West Dunbartonshire the number of workers on furlough is 3,500 and in Argyll & Bute it is 3,400.

In September 2020, in Scotland there were 224,200 claiming benefits (JSA and UC) , an increase of 1,500 over the month and 112,800 (101.2 per cent) over the year. Scottish Government analysis projects that unemployment will peak at 8.2% in 2020 Q4, reflecting the assumption that the Job Support Scheme will not be as effective at suppressing unemployment as the furlough scheme.

Jackie Baillie MSP is calling on the SNP Government to commit now to a jobs guarantee scheme that is fairer, greener and better.

That means:

  • Jobs paid at the trade union rate for the job, and no less than the Real Living Wage, regardless of age.
  • Jobs in growth industries to rebuild our economy and our lives in a responsible and sustainable way.
  • Employment underpinned by childcare provision

Chancellor Rishi Sunak must agree to a furlough scheme targeted specifically at Scotland’s economic needs to protect squeezed incomes, Ms Baillie has added.


Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh & Lomond said:

“West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute furloughed workers face a harsh winter period after the end of furlough this weekend. Many of them might not have jobs to go back to.

“Household incomes will take a substantial hit due to the Chancellor’s disastrous decision to end the scheme from Saturday.

“The UK Government’s half-baked replacement scheme is totally inadequate to make up for the substantial loss of furlough money.

“Scotland’s industries from oil and gas, right through to tourism, hospitality and the arts, have been battered during the last seven months.

“There is no sign of any recovery and it’s therefore deeply worrying that despite the sharp rise in infections and tighter restrictions, the Chancellor is letting furlough end today.

“Workers should not have their incomes cutback at this critical time, which is why the Chancellor must agree to calls for a furlough scheme that is targeted specifically at Scotland’s economy and workforce. I expect the Scottish and UK Governments to put aside their differences and work together in the interests of the economy and jobs.

“Without doing so, the living standards of hard-pressed local families and those on already squeezed incomes will only get worse as winter starts to bite and households face soaring fuel bills.”


August 31 JRS stats: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-october-2020

Benefit claim stats September 2020: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/headlinelabourforcesurveyindicatorsforscotlandhi11

Scottish Government unemployment analysis: https://www.gov.scot/publications/state-economy/pages/5/

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