Cuts confirm choice of two futures
Westminster reductions to Scottish budget will continue
The two futures facing Scotland in next year’s referendum have been illustrated starkly with the announcement today of further Westminster year on year cuts to Scotland’s budget, Finance Secretary John Swinney said today.
Today’s announcement confirms a real terms reduction in the Scottish Government’s total DEL budget (excluding financial transactions) of £333m between 2014/2015 and 2015/2016
Scotland’s capital budget shows an overall reduction in the conventional capital budget of 26% in real terms since 2010. The Chancellor also confirmed that the spending cuts will continue long into the future.
Additional components of the 2015 – 16 capital budget arise from Financial Transactions and anticipated borrowing powers which will have to be repaid from Scotland’s revenue budget. The cumulative impact of capital cuts from 2010-11 over the 5 years to 2015 is worth £3.2 billion to Scotland’s economy.
Commenting on the Spending Review John Swinney said:
“It is time for Scotland to choose a different course. The Chancellor has chosen austerity over investment in growth and jobs and the cost has been the continuing deterioration in the public finances, prolonged recession and the downgrade of the UK’s credit rating.
“Westminster’s economic failure means that instead of the 2.9% growth for 2013 the Chancellor expected in his first Budget back in June 2010, the UK economy is now forecast to grow by just 0.6% over the year as a whole.
“Today’s Spending Review sees a further reduction to the Scottish Budget, piling cuts on top of cuts and another attempt by Westminster to hide their failed economic policies behind promises of loans and borrowing far into the future.
“The UK Government has slashed Scotland’s capital budget by 26% in real terms since 2010/11. The cumulative impact of these cuts is worth £3.2 billion removed from Scotland’s economy. At the same time instead of helping households the UK Government has attacked the incomes of working households who have been made to pay for Westminster’s economic mismanagement.
“Scotland did not vote for this disastrous economic agenda and next year we can choose to take a different and better path, with all of Scotland’s resources at our disposal.
“Scotland continues to show a higher employment rate and lower unemployment rate than the UK and youth unemployment figures that continue to outperform the UK. In the last set of figures Scotland’s economy outperformed the UK on all indicators- a Scottish economy that this budget threatens.
“And Scotland is a wealthy nation. Welfare and pensions are more affordable in Scotland. In the last year Scotland paid a higher share of UK taxes into the Treasury, than we received of UK spending and in every one of the last 30 years Scotland has paid in more in taxes per person, than across the UK as a whole.
“Instead of fixing the economy Westminster are proposing more of the same. Scotland has a choice next year between a UK future of continued Westminster austerity and ideological attacks on the welfare system or the better and brighter prospect of an independent Scotland using our own resources to improve our economy and support the people of Scotland.”
Lisa McDonald : 0131 244 2967