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Highland MP asks Chancellor to plough repaid furlough money into further business support to help those who fall through the gaps

By Tom Ramage

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The SNP’s shadow business secretary has urged the Chancellor to reinvest the £215 million it has received through furlough money repayments into support for small businesses and those who fall through the gaps of available support.

Strath MP Drew Hendry
Strath MP Drew Hendry

In an answer to a written parliamentary question submitted by Drew Hendry MP, it was revealed that as of September 15 as much as £215,756,121 had been returned to HMRC voluntarily, via payments and adjustments to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants. Among them is Highland estate owner Anders Holch Povlsen, a Danish billionaire who repaid £300,000.

Mr Hendry has urged other companies to follow the lead of Wildland Ltd in his constituency, owned by Mr Povlsen, who arranged the repayment (£296,000) to the UK public purse after furlough money helped to tide the company over during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Hendry has previously written to Rishi Sunak urging him to reinvest furlough money repayments into schemes for businesses struggling to stay afloat and those who have fallen through the gaps of available coronavirus support, such as freelancers.

Anders Holch Povlsen (Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix via AP, File)
Anders Holch Povlsen (Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix via AP, File)

Mr Hendry said: “The £215 million the Treasury has received in furlough money repayments must be reinvested into support schemes for those who need it – particularly small businesses and those who are not eligible for available support, such as freelancers.

“It was welcome that Wildland Ltd arranged to pay back the money it borrowed through the Jobs Retention scheme to the UK Treasury.

"I would urge other large corporations, that find themselves in a similar position, to follow Mr Povlsen's lead.

"My SNP colleagues and I have consistently called for the gaps in available support to be closed, and for the support to be strengthened. I hope the Chancellor will do the right thing and use this money to do just that.”

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