Scottish cuts ‘bitter pill’
In the face of strong opposition and no mandate for austerity in Scotland, the Chancellor plans to plough ahead and slash the Scottish budget this year.
The cut of £107 million is substantially lower than the UK Government’s original estimate but this still too bitter pill to swallow. This comes on top of an overall budget cut of nine per cent since 2010, including a 25 per cent cut to the capital budget.
I made it clear today that it is completely unacceptable for reductions to be imposed in this financial year to the budget that has already been agreed by the Scottish Parliament. I also set out that we will continue to argue for an end to austerity and a credible economic alternative that could see additional £93 billion investment across the UK in the next four years that still meets UK fiscal targets.
The Chancellor’s decision leaves Scotland £107 million poorer, but the Scottish Government will do everything possible to mitigate the impact and we’ll continue to focus on our priorities of growing the economy, protecting public services and tackling inequality.”
Mr Swinney and the Chancellor also discussed the fiscal framework for the Scotland Bill.
The Chancellor and I also discussed the funding framework for the Scotland Bill, which will ensure the Scottish Parliament has the right tools to manage the new powers. We agreed that our Governments would immediately start work to ensure the process is collaborative, transparent and delivers the principles of Smith.
We are aiming to finalise Scotland’s new fiscal framework by the Autumn alongside the Scotland Bill’s passage through Parliament and I will meet the Chief Secretary regularly over the coming months to discuss the details.