Conservative candidate Struan Mackie says the UK government has stepped up at every turn during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure jobs and livelihoods in the far north are protected.
He welcomed the continued support being provided from Westminster by the furlough scheme, saying it has been invaluable for individuals and countless businesses.
Councillor Mackie, who represents Thurso and Northwest Caithness on Highland Council, is the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross.
He highlighted the latest provisional figures from the end of February showing that 9300 jobs in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross are still being protected by the UK government.
The furlough initiative, which was introduced as the pandemic struck a year ago, helped to protect 780,000 jobs across Scotland at its peak along with 157,000 Scots through the self-employed support scheme.
Councillor Mackie maintained that at every turn throughout the pandemic the UK government had intervened to directly support businesses and employees – "using the broad shoulders of the Treasury to protect jobs and livelihoods".
He said the Conservatives' message to the electorate is that they would focus relentlessly on recovery from the effects of the pandemic and on rebuilding communities, rather than pressing ahead with "another divisive independence referendum" which the SNP will seek to do if it wins a Holyrood majority.
“The UK government’s furlough scheme has protected thousands of jobs across in the constituency over the last year and is continuing to do so," Councillor Mackie said.
“At every turn during the Covid crisis, the UK government through Chancellor Rishi Sunak has stepped up to protect jobs and livelihoods in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross.
“That support has been invaluable for individuals and countless businesses in the area. I am committed to fully focusing on our economic recovery and rebuilding our fragile communities across the far north.