Scotland’s Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP has accused the Tories of inflicting a budget “triple whammy” on Scotland and demanded that the Chancellor unlocks investment in public sector pay and services.
Mr Mackay cited three key examples of how funding for public services in Scotland is being squeezed by Tory actions. The austerity agenda is responsible for a 9.2% real-terms cut to Scotland’s budget over the current decade. At the same time, the SNP Government is paying an ever-increasing amount on mitigating some of the worst Tory policies, such as the Bedroom Tax and cuts to council tax benefit. Meanwhile, decisions such as forcing Police Scotland to pay VAT are “completely unjustifiably” withholding tens of millions of pounds from Scotland’s budget.
Derek Mackay said:
“Over ten years we have used the powers of the Scottish Parliament to chart a different, more progressive course in the face of unprecedented Tory austerity, being forced to pay ever-increasing amounts on mitigating cruel Tory policies, and in the face of completely unjustifiable Tory actions such as forcing Police Scotland to pay tens of millions of pounds in VAT.
“When the Tories’ neck is on the line, they have no hesitation in finding £1,000 million of taxpayers’ money for their grubby deal with the DUP, yet they inflict a budget triple whammy on Scotland which is putting ever more pressure on our public services.
“The Tory Cabinet is in absolute chaos. Nevertheless, the Chancellor must focus on his day job and ignore austerity-obsessed colleagues in the Cabinet and do the right thing for public services by unlocking investment.”
“In Scotland we know that high-quality public services rely on dedicated hard working public servants. We will continue to work with Trades Unions, to deliver an affordable settlement, that recognises the cost of living.
“Unlike the Tories or Labour in Wales, come what may, we will lift the 1% pay cap.
“However, if our budget continues to be cut, we will only be able to go so far on pay. That is why the Chancellor should lift the cap across the UK, and fund the pay rise that people deserve.”