Nicola Sturgeon can’t rule out lockdown in Scotland as she seeks clarity on furlough extension

nicola sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon says that she can’t rule out a lockdown in Scotland (tier 4) as England prepares for its four-week lockdown on Thursday with a time-limited UK furlough scheme that she thinks should apply to Scotland on a flexible basis.

She said at today’s briefing, “We might yet have to go further and we can’t rule out, and shouldn’t rule out, a move to level 4 for all or parts of the country.”

The First Minister thinks that Scotland should be able to benefit from furlough beyond the one month period that applies throughout the UK from this week, and If the Treasury tell her later today that there is no extension, the Scottish Government will have to make a decision in the coming days on greater restrictions for all areas.

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

“The decision we have to weigh up in coming days is this one – should we take the opportunity of more generous financial support to step harder on the brakes now to try to drive infection rates down faster and more firmly?”

She added that the potential benefit of this would be suppressing the virus further and faster at a time when financial support is available and possibly opening up a bit of “breathing space over the Christmas period.”