Support packages 'lifeline' to Covid-hit businesses

LOCAL MP Alister Jack has described as 'encouraging' positive feedback from businesses in his constituency to UK Covid-19 support packages.


AlisterJack In Castle Douglas

The Scottish Secretary stated that take-up had been good across Scotland, including Dumfries and Galloway, to both the Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Latest CJRS statistics published this week, based on data to July 31, showed that 366,700 jobs across Scotland had been furloughed. Of these, 288,400 were fully furloughed with a further 78,400 partially.  In total these represented 15 per cent of eligible jobs.

Meanwhile, the SEISS figures showed 126,000 self-employed individuals in Scotland had claimed support up to August 31 which represented 61 per cent of those potentially eligible. The total awarded was £318 million with the average claim £2500.

Mr Jack stated that whilst no constituency breakdown was yet available many local business people and the self-employed had told him the schemes had proved a lifeline.

He said: "The speed these funds were delivered, in extraordinary circumstances, was a practical way of getting money to where it was needed and helping keep a viable economy moving.

"The funding also provided a confidence boost at what was an incredibly stressful time for so many of my constituents."

Mr Jack, who has visited a number of local businesses in recent weeks, said: "There are no easy solutions to coronavirus, and there will, and has been, casualties, but the UK Government support has helped many in Dumfries and Galloway through the crisis so far.

"We are now better placed, based on the experience of the last year, to rebuild the economy, adjust to the new norm and take full advantage of further opportunities which I'm confident will arise."

Mr Jack added: "I've been impressed by the can-do attitude and flexibility of many managements and staff in working round what have been extremely challenging circumstances."