The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has delivered another Tory austerity budget that cuts funding for public services but protects the super-rich.
As Brexit begins to bite, the cost of living is going up. Yet the Chancellor has pledged no new money for public sector pay increases or any halt to the disastrous roll-out of Universal Credit that is causing misery for thousands.
On the cost of living, jobs and public services, this is a budget that fails to deliver for people in Scotland. Here’s what you need to know.
The budget available for Scotland’s public services will be cut by over £200 million in real terms.
After seven years of austerity, inequality is rising and more people are being forced to rely on foodbanks than ever before. But the Tory government remains committed to their failed austerity agenda.
And while Scotland faces a further real terms cut in it’s budget, the UK government has managed to find £1 billion for the DUP to keep themselves in power.
No new money has been announced to lift the 1 per cent public sector pay cap.
The SNP Scottish Government is committed to ending the 1 per cent cap on public sector pay increases. We will deliver pay increases that are affordable but that reflect the real life circumstances of those who deliver our vital public services. By offering no new money to deliver pay increases, the Chancellor has failed to support our commitment to raising pay.
The budget shortchanges our NHS.
The Chancellor announced an extra £350 million for the NHS in England. Under the Barnett formula we should receive an extra £30 million in funding, but cuts elsewhere in the budget mean that there is only £8 million more for our health service.
The UK government is still doing too little to tackle the super-rich tax dodgers.
The Paradise Papers revealed that on tax, there is still one rule for the super-rich and another for everyone else. According to HMRC, £6.9 billion was lost in 2015 due to tax avoidance and evasion.
The plans outlined by the Chancellor don’t go far enough. We’re calling for real action to ensure the wealthiest in society and the biggest corporations pay the taxes they owe. Say you’re with us by signing our petition today.
The budget continues to fail young people on pay.
With no change to National Living Wage rules, young workers will continue to be paid less than their older colleagues. We back a transition to payment of the real Living wage as a new minimum legal requirement for all adults above the age of 18.
The roll-out of Universal Credit will continue, meaning misery for thousands of people this Christmas.
While we welcome the reduction in the waiting time for people to receive their first payment of Universal Credit to four weeks, other serious issues have not been addressed. We will continue to call for the roll-out of Universal Credit to be halted to allow the fundamental flaws in its design to be fixed.
This is a budget that fails to support jobs in Scotland.
The UK government has failed to match Scottish Government support for manufacturing through an investment of £40 million in a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland.
Proposed changes to oil and gas taxation are welcome but don’t go far enough to maximise economic recovery and support new exploration.
And it fails to provide the certainty our vital renewables sector needs to support investment.
After 139 SNP calls over five years for an end to VAT charges for our police and fire services, the Chancellor has finally relented.
Scotland’s police and fire services have been forced to pay VAT since 2013 – the only UK emergency services to do so. The decision to end this injustice is long-overdue but it doesn’t go far enough. It’s now time to refund the £140 million charged and allow that money to be invested in Scotland’s emergency services.