Scotland's Economy

Finance Secretary responds to UK Budget

March 3, 2021 by No Comments | Category Finance

Responding to the UK Budget, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said:

“In advance of the UK Budget I called for the UK Government to provide meaningful and effective long-term support to businesses and households as we face the next phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“While I welcome some of the announcements today, it is clear the Chancellor has not matched Scotland’s ambition for economic recovery and supporting households.

“The extension of the furlough scheme and self-employed support will be a relief to many, and is something that the Scottish Government has repeatedly called for. However, it is extremely disappointing that the Chancellor has failed to reverse the cuts to Scotland’s capital budget and has refused to make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent.

“The UK Government’s support for businesses and households is significantly less generous than what we have committed to here in Scotland.

“We have provided certainty and stability to businesses by extending 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses for 12 months. Today’s UK Budget fell significantly short of this, extending 100% relief for three months but only 66% for the remaining nine months for businesses in England.

“We have taken extra steps to support household finances by compensating councils who choose to freeze Council Tax. We have also set out our five year pipeline of infrastructure investment to inject confidence in our economy, but we’re doing that without any additional capital from the UK Government. In particular, we have chosen to prioritise substantial investment in affordable homes. We didn’t hear similar levels of ambition from the Chancellor.

“While there is some additional funding for Scotland, it was clear from the Chancellor’s statement that the storm clouds of austerity are on the horizon once again – with the OBR highlighting that departmental spending is being cut by £15 billion – a move that would be disastrous for our economic recovery, undermine our public services, and impact on the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Over the coming days I will be meeting with all parties in Parliament as we look towards the final stages of the Scottish Budget next week and I repeat my call to them to come together in a time of crisis to pass a budget that delivers for Scotland.”



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