THE Chancellor must “step forward” and provide financial assurances as the city of Aberdeen faces a new coronavirus spike, the area’s MP has said.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP MP for Aberdeen South, wrote to Rishi Sunak yesterday as venues closed their doors due to the Covid-19 cluster in the city.

Yesterday another five people linked to the cluster tested positive, taking the total to 32.

NHS Grampian has also identified 120 close contacts linked to the cluster, which has been traced back to The Hawthorn Bar on Holburn Street on July 26.

READ MORE: Aberdeen venues to shut immediately after person with Covid-19 visited premises

Yesterday after it emerged a person with Covid-19 had visited the city’s Soul Bar, the owner said he would closing all of his firm’s venues in Aberdeen until it was safe to reopen.

PB Devco venues Soul Bar, College, The Queen Vice, So, Vovem Meat & Liquor, The Bieldside Inn, The Howff and So … Zen were closed immediately.

In a statement on Facebook, owner Stuart Clarkson said: “As soon as we heard someone who had tested positive had visited SOUL, we immediately sought advice and followed the guidance of the government, NHS and Track and Trace. However, we feel we now need to take the situation into our own hands to help limit the spread of the virus, as these are unprecedented times and things are escalating quickly.”

They added: “We all need to work together, as quickly as possible, to protect our city, and as a family-run business local to Aberdeen, we take this very seriously.”

Now Flynn has said venues deciding to put public health first should be “commended” – and asked the Treasury to step in to help with the financial consequences of the move.

“You have opted to reduce the Treasury’s contribution towards the Job Retention Scheme,” he wrote. “In doing so, this places additional costs on to employers who furlough their staff. I would urge you to reverse this decision where a business in Aberdeen has had to close due to public health consideration”

The MP also asked Sunak to change the rule requiring staff to have been furloughed before June 10 in order to be enrolled now.

“It is likely inevitable that this will not apply to all current staff and I would urge you to ensure that the furlough scheme is available to all employees who work in premises that have closed to date, or that may close in the future, due to public health.”

With the number of cases linked to the Aberdeen cluster expected to rise, Flynn added: “I hope you will agree that the cannot expect premises to close without full financial support from the Treasury.”

From Saturday firms were required to pay national insurance and pension contributions for the hours an employee is on furlough.

From September the current 80% of wages paid up to £2500 will be cut to 70%. In October it will drop to 60%, before the scheme is wound up altogether in November.