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He promised to “stick up for the UK” as all four countries “build back better, together”. The PM told the Daily Express yesterday: “Everything we do in this government is focused on supporting and strengthening all four corners of the United Kingdom. “Throughout the coronavirus pandemic this focus has never been more important, and it will continue to be so as we build back better, together.
“From investing to protecting people’s jobs and livelihoods over the past few months to preparing the NHS for winter with an extra £250million for the Scottish government, the UK will always succeed because of the power of our union.”
Mr Johnson had told Tory MPs on the 1922 Committee he would “stick up for the UK” during a meeting in the Commons before they broke for the summer recess.
He said: “One area we need to be much more positive about is all the benefits the Union has brought to our country.
“We will stick up for the UK and bring investment to the UK.
“When I stood on the steps of Downing Street one year ago, I pledged to be a Prime Minister for every corner of the United Kingdom.
“Whether you are from East Kilbride or Dumfries, Motherwell or Paisley, I promised to level up across Britain and close the opportunity gap.
“The last six months have shown exactly why the historic and heartfelt bond that ties the four nations of our country together is so important and the sheer might of our union has been proven once again.”
Speaking ahead of his high-profile Scotland visit, Mr Johnson said the Treasury’s fiscal firepower had saved a third of Scottish jobs and kept the “wolves at bay” for thousands of firms.
He also praised the “historic and heartfelt bond” of the four UK nations, amid warnings that the Union is on the line following polls showing a surge in support for independence.
Mr Johnson revealed that First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon’s administration would get a cash boost.
It comes in the wake of a £3billion NHS spending blitz to ready English hospitals for a possible second COVID-19 surge this winter.
The Scottish government has already gained £4.6billion of aid through the pandemic. Scotland’s island communities will also be “transformed” in a £100million plan announced to coincide with the PM’s trip.
The funding for Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles will be used to turn them into “world class” tourist destinations, improving infrastructure and encouraging holidaymakers.
The Islands Growth Deal was announced as the PM prepared to thank military staff in Scotland for their work in the coronavirus response.
Mr Johnson added: “In Scotland, the UK’s magnificent Armed Forces have been on the ground doing vital work to support the NHS, from setting up and running mobile testing sites to airlifting critically ill patients to hospitals from some of Scotland’s most remote communities.
“And the UK Treasury stepped in to save the jobs of a third of Scotland’s entire workforce and kept the wolves at bay for tens of thousands of Scottish businesses.”
Latest figures show the UK Government has supported nearly 900,000 Scottish residents during lockdown through its furlough and self-employed scheme.
But a recent poll revealed support for independence had hit 54 per cent, with the SNP set to win a majority at next year’s election. First Minister Ms Sturgeon’s approval ratings have also soared during the crisis.
This is despite more than 4,000 deaths, a battered economy and longer-term problems, such as declining educational performance and missed NHS targets.
Mr Johnson’s trip to Scotland is his fifth since becoming Prime Minister.
The First Minister said yesterday: “I’ve no plans to meet the Prime Minister tomorrow.”
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