Nicola Sturgeon torn apart over new demands for extra Covid funding from Westminster

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The First Minister announced last night that Scotland would be following Mr Johnson’s advice on enforcing a 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants. But Mrs Sturgeon also went one step further by preventing households from mixing indoors. She admitted during her daily coronavirus briefing that Scotland’s restrictions were “tougher than other parts of the UK”.

Mr Sturgeon added that without the “financial limitations” imposed on Scotland, the decision made to have a hospitality curfew may have been “different”.

But the Government has hit back at these claims by saying the Scottish administration has been given billions of pounds to help with the coronavirus pandemic.

A Treasury spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “Since the beginning of the pandemic the UK Government has provided billions of pounds of support both to the devolved administration in Scotland and directly to Scottish businesses and workers.

“We have given the devolved administration in Scotland an additional £6.5billion to cope with the pressures of the pandemic and we are supporting nearly half a million jobs in Scotland, down from a high of more than 930,000 at the end of July.

“Tomorrow afternoon the Chancellor will update the House of Commons on the Government’s plans to continue protecting jobs through the winter.”

Nicola Sturgeon explained during her briefing that the reasoning behind the 10pm curfew for hospitality is to “curtail the spread of the virus”.

She said: “I wanted to return just briefly to the issue of hospitality because many of you may be amongst these people but many people ask me why we don’t just close the pubs completely right now.

“And actually, that is not an unreasonable question.

“And as I said yesterday if the Scottish Government had the power to borrow money, or to extend the furlough job retention scheme so that we could mitigate the impact on jobs, it is very possible perhaps even likely, that we would have reached a different decision yesterday on hospitality.

“When we went as far as we could, within the powers that we have.

“And that is that we mustn’t be hamstrung in essential public health decisions by the lack of necessary, economic mitigations.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack also addressed the new measures by saying the new ban on household visits was “the only part of the restrictions announced yesterday which we haven’t agreed across the UK”.

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Mr Jack said: “Pretty much everything else we’re all on the same page and aligned, and I would have preferred, myself, a process that we’ve taken in England which is the local lockdown measures.”

Mr Johnson said in his address to the nation on Tuesday that there had been “too many” breaches of the rules and warned that “tougher penalties” would be handed out.

He said: “Never in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour.

“If we follow these simple rules together, we will get through this winter together.

“We need to suppress the virus now, and as for that minority who may continue to flout the rules, we will enforce those rules with tougher penalties and fines of up to £10,000.

“We will put more police out on the streets and use the army to backfill if necessary.

“I am deeply, spiritually reluctant to make any of these impositions, or infringe anyone’s freedom, but unless we take action the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later, when the deaths have already mounted and we have a huge caseload of infection such as we had in the spring.”

He added that continuing lockdown would affect vulnerable and lonely people and keep children out of education.

Mr Johnson said: “If we let this virus get out of control now, it would mean that our NHS had no space, once again, to deal with cancer patients and millions of other non-Covid medical needs.

“If we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend.”

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