SCOTLAND’S pubs, bars and restaurants will only remain open because Holyrood lacks the financial powers necessary to support people through a furlough scheme, Nicola Sturgeon has suggested.

Speaking today as part of her announcement on coronavirus restrictions, the First Minister said she could “understand” arguments for closing pubs altogether, but said her Government did not have the powers to make that possible.

Sturgeon said: “Now, people sometimes ask me why we don’t just close pubs again altogether - and I can understand that.

“The answer - to be frank - is that we are seeking to find a balance between action to suppress the virus and the protection of people’s jobs and livelihoods.

“If the Scottish Government had greater powers to borrow money, or the ability to extend the Job Retention Scheme, for example, it is possible that we would reach a different balance of judgment on some of these issues.

“But we don’t.”

READ MORE: WATCH: Boris Johnson dismisses furlough plea to save 61,000 Scottish jobs

The First Minister added that allowing businesses to trade and provide jobs was still “the best balance for now”.

The Scottish Greens’ Alison Johnstone later told the Holyrood chamber that the furlough scheme had been essential, adding: “Bringing an end to furlough while introducing additional restrictions is simply dangerous and wrong.

“Support for workers, including the self-employed, must be extended."

Responding, Sturgeon said she agreed “very much” with Johnstone’s points.

She said all three devolved administrations had raised issues with ongoing financial support for businesses at the Cobra meeting this (Tuesday) morning.

This included worries of the impact the new curfews would have on hospitality.

From Friday September 25, Scotland’s pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 10pm.

Sturgeon went on: “We continue to seek to persuade the UK Government to do more on that as well as to extend the Job Retention Scheme which, given the position we are in now, is even more essential it seems to me than it was just a few days ago.”