The UK Government’s budget has inflicted a real terms cut to Scotland’s revenue block grant of over £200 million next year.
Commenting on today’s UK Government budget Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said that Scotland is being “short changed”.
Despite a commitment of over £300 million resource funding for the NHS in England this year, Scotland will receive only £8m in consequentials in 2018-19 due to UK cuts elsewhere.
Mr Mackay said:
“Scotland’s resource block grant for day to day spending will fall by over £200 million in real terms next year, once inflation is taken into account. While money for the NHS in England should see a proportionate share come to Scotland, cuts in other UK departments mean that instead of receiving over £30 million this year the SNP Government will receive only £8 million; a fraction of that spending.
“The reality is that additional money being promised to Scotland over the next four years consists of loans that the SNP Government cannot spend directly on frontline public services and that have to be paid back to the Treasury.
“At the same time this budget has failed to lift the public sector pay cap. The SNP Government believes all public sector workers deserve a pay rise and we will deliver one.”
Added Kenneth Gibson MSP:
“Austerity has not ended and Scotland’s budget is now 10% less in real terms than a decade ago, while an ageing and rising demand places increasingly strong pressures on services.
“On business rates and stamp duty the UK Government is following Scotland’s lead. We have already moved to make revaluations more frequent and the vast majority of first time buyers, those buying a home for under £145,000, are already exempt from tax when they buy a home.
“Ending the VAT obligation on police and fire services is welcome but well overdue and I have argued for this since February 2012. The UK Government must now pay back the £140 million of VAT they have already taken. After all, it was a manifesto commitment of both Labour and the Tories to centralise these services.
“The reality of today’s budget is that compared with the £1,000 million awarded to Northern Ireland’s DUP to shore up the UK Tory Government, the funding settlement for Scotland unveiled today is deeply disappointing.
“The SNP has consistently argued for a better funding settlement for Scotland, and this budget does not reflect that.”