SNP reaction to the UK Budget Statement

Today the UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has set out the UK’s budget for the next year. It’s a budget that failed to change course on the economy, failed to reverse the deeply damaging cuts to social security and revealed the damaging impact of the Tories’ Brexit obession. Here’s the SNP response.

Kate Forbes MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Finance

While I’m pleased to see the UK Government’s economic response to coronavirus following my calls for this at the UK Treasury yesterday, we need confirmation on what this will mean for Scotland. We require urgent clarification on what funding Scotland will receive from the announcements made by the UK Government, at a time when the prospects for the economy and public finances remain very uncertain as the short term impacts of COVID-19 unfold.

It is vital that our businesses, employees, health service and the most economically vulnerable in our society are all protected through this time, and this additional funding will help us in our response.

I will ensure that businesses in Scotland are supported and will work with the business community to identify the most effective measures available to us, when we have more clarity on the funding available.

We expect full consequentials from this additional funding and need urgent clarification to provide clarity for Scottish businesses and NHS Scotland to ensure we can respond effectively.

The Barnett consequentials announced today are in line with the assumptions that underpinned the Scottish Budget and Budget Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament last week. While this funding is welcome, our resource budget is still lower in real terms than it was in 2010/11.

Ian Blackford MP

SNP Westminster Leader

The Chancellor today had an opportunity to address and reverse a decade of decline and austerity that his government has presided over – he failed to do so. Instead, the Tories’ economic agenda was merely a sticking plaster.

If the Chancellor believes that this Budget ‘levels up’ after a decade of austerity and assault on people’s livelihoods, then he is wrong. After inflicting years of cruel and deep cuts, the Tories are offering more of the same while ushering in a new era of political and economic isolation outside the EU. The UK is not serving Scotland’s interests.

The ONS recently confirmed that the median income for the poorest 20% fell 4.3% per year between 2017 and 2019. While IFS analysis shows that since 2010, the poorest 10% of households have lost on average 11% of their income – around £1,200 per year.

Far from reversing the brutal impact austerity has had on our society, the UK government is simply carrying on regardless.

It failed to halt the roll-out of the flawed Universal Credit system, failed to scrap the cruel two-child limit and rape clause, failed to increase benefits above inflation and restore the lost value from the four-year freeze, and failed to fill the multi-billion black hole in Scotland’s budget by paying back £13.9 billion in cumulative Tory cuts since 2010.

By every measure this was a Budget riddled with honeyed words and new slogans, but hollow on substance when it comes to working for hardworking families and individuals across the UK.

While the economic and social threat of Brexit is on the horizon.

The Tories’ highest ambition is of securing a basic trade deal which, compared to EU membership, and could remove £9bn from the Scottish economy. And threats to walk away from the table with a No-Deal could hit the Scottish economy to the tune of £12.7 billion, equivalent to £2,300 per person.

All the signs from this Tory government are that instead of co-operation and close relationships, they are heading for deep divergence and de-regulation.

Scotland must have the choice of a better future as an equal, independent European country – instead of the broken, Brexit Britain being imposed upon us.