The SNP Government’s Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP has set out a list of demands to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in advance of next week’s Budget, including calling on the UK Government to ditch its austerity agenda and taking measures to help boost Scotland's economy and safeguard public services.
Reversing plans for more cuts is a key demand. Others include providing sufficient money to lift the 1% public sector pay cap and allowing the police and fire services to recover their VAT. Further calls include ensuring Scotland gets its fair share of funding following the deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, to provide greater certainty over future European UNionm grants in the face of Brexit and give Scottish farmers their share of the Common Agricultural Policy convergence uplift.
Mr Mackay also wants the Treasury to give £40 million to National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and to pause the rollout of Universal Credit for a redesign. He said:
"Scotland is suffering from the economic uncertainty caused by impending Brexit, budget cuts and the economic incompetence of the UK Government. Across so many policy areas, the short-changing of Scotland is increasingly blatant and contemptible.
"This Budget gives the Chancellor an opportunity to repair some of the damage and put right injustices that the Tory Government he belongs to have created, not least by allowing us to resource the lifting of the 1% public sector pay cap.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
"The SNP Government remains steadfast in its opposition to the UK Government's austerity agenda, which disproportionately hurts the poorest and most vulnerable in our society and is increase the burden on ordinary taxpayers.
"The Chancellor must reverse his plans to cut an additional £3,500 million next year - around 10% of which could fall on Scotland - halt his £600 million reduction on investment for Scotland's railways over the next five years and finally address the issue of police and fire VAT that has cost Scotland's emergency services £140 million to date.”