SNP reaction to the UK Budget Statement

Today the UK Chancellor, Philip Hammond, 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 failed to rule out a job-destroying no deal Brexit. Here’s the SNP response.

Derek MacKay MSP

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy & Fair Work

According to this budget, the Scottish Government’s resource block grant from the UK Government – the money we are able to invest in day to day public services – remains almost £2 billion lower next year compared with 2010-11. This budget falls a long way short of delivering for Scotland.

The changes announced to universal credit do not go far enough.  They are just a drop in the ocean compared to the impact the roll-out of Universal Credit will have. I continue to call for the roll-out of Universal Credit to be halted – and halted straight away.

Brexit is a serious threat to our economy and to household incomes. We continue to argue that the only deal that will deliver for Scotland is to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union.

With the UK Government’s preferred approach to Brexit set to hit people’s incomes In Scotland by £1600 a head – the changes in this year’s budget do nothing to alleviate the impact Brexit will have.

There was little in this budget to boost our public services.  The Scottish Government has already set out our plans to support the NHS in the years to come and the funding we have received as a result of health spending in England will go to our NHS in Scotland – but so far the UK Government has fallen at least £50m short of what was promised only 4 months ago.

The reality of today’s budget is that Scotland continues to be hit by UK austerity and the decision to leave the EU.

I have consistently argued for a better settlement for Scotland, and this budget does not reflect that.

Ian Blackford MP

SNP Westminster Leader

There should now be no doubt – that despite the differing lines from the Chancellor and Prime Minister – austerity is here to stay and it’s the poorest in society who will continue to pay for it.

There is no doubt this Tory government is making Scotland worse off and after Brexit, even if the UK signs a free trade agreement with the EU, this will mean Scotland’s GDP will be 6.1%, or £1,610 per person, lower by 2030.

Instead of halting Universal Credit – the Chancellor has only applied a sticking plaster to a system that is failing the weakest and the most vulnerable in our society.

Scotland again has been robbed – losing £1.9billion pounds by 2020 from the Scottish Government’s budget – with our NHS short-changed to the tune of £50million in Barnett consequentials and again our oil and gas sector is ignored at a typical time of growth.

This Chancellor has failed to introduce a real Living wage, failed to lift the benefits freeze, failed to scrap the two-child cap, failed to abolish the bedroom tax, failed to halt Universal Credit and failed to give fairness to the WASPI women who have lost their pensions.

In the last 24 hours a clear divide between Number 10 and Number 11 Downing Street has become clear. This morning, a number 10 spokesperson said all the commitments that the Chancellor will set out today are funded regardless of whether there is a Brexit deal – however this is the opposite of what the Chancellor suggested yesterday, saying a no deal would require a new budget with a new strategy.

The question that needs answered – is can we even trust this budget and whose budget is it? The SNP is clear – Scotland shouldn’t pick up the price for the continued chaos at the heart of the UK government. This budget has presented Scotland with the choice of two futures – one in a union of chaos and hardship – or a future of opportunity in a prosperous, fairer Scotland in the European Union.