Response to UK Government Spring Statement
Public Finance Minister Kate Forbes has responded to the UK Government’s Spring Statement today, saying:
“Amid the continuing uncertainty around the UK’s EU exit, the Spring Statement failed to provide businesses with any reassurances about their future and offered no clarity on future funding for Scotland.
“Years of austerity and continued uncertainty at the hands of the UK Government is impacting on business investment in Scotland right now and causing unnecessary harm to some of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
“Today was the Chancellor’s opportunity to change this and he chose not to, despite recognising the damaging consequences of the UK’s EU exit and the fact he had additional resources to invest now.
“The plans he set out today will be a drop in the ocean compared to the harm that EU exit will cause, with business investment already falling and growth expected to slow.
“All forms of EU exit will harm Scotland’s economy, with a fall in income per head of around £1,600 compared with EU membership. Leaving the EU without a deal could lead to a potential shrinking of Scotland’s economy by up to 7%, a drop in exports by up to 20% and reduced business investment by £1 billion in 2019.
“While it is welcome that the Chancellor recognises the strategic importance of Edinburgh University and the need to invest in the Borderlands deal, there is much more that could have been delivered today.
“It is disappointing that the Chancellor failed to guarantee that all future EU funding to Scotland – worth over £5 billion in this current EU budget round – will be replaced in full.
“The best decision the UK Government could take for Scotland’s economy and our public finances would be to rule out ‘no deal’, to extend article 50 and to let the people vote against this deeply damaging EU exit.”
The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will invest up to £85 million in the Borderlands region – https://www.gov.scot/news/gbp-85-million-for-borderlands/