No Fair Recovery Under Westminster
The Tory UK Government’s budget makes it clear that “independence is the only way to give Angus a fair recovery from the pandemic.”
The Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, had written to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak prior to the announcement of the budget on 27th October. She called for additional spending to help households and businesses “facing a perfect storm” of rising prices, reduced support and increasing shortages.
Ms Forbes has since said that while the UK budget contains “some welcome announcements”, it nonetheless “disappoints in too many key areas”.
She highlighted how workers on the national living wage in receipt of Universal Credit will lose over 50% of any wage rise to the reduction in benefits, and how the rise will not apply to under-23s in any case. Indeed, the budget has even been described by the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies as “actually awful” for living standards.
📢 Today's UK budget was opportunity to get a grip on the cost of living crisis and to kickstart a fair recovery.
❌ Instead, the Tories chose to waste that opportunity.
🏴 Scotland hasn’t voted for a Tory economic plan since 1955 – Westminster’s choices are not our choices. pic.twitter.com/joDMbca3Vh
— The SNP (@theSNP) October 27, 2021
Furthermore, what the has Chancellor described as an increase to Scotland’s block grant will actually see the Scottish Government receive less grant funding in every year of the spending review than it has in 2021-22, despite the continuing challenges of COVID.
Mr Sunak has additionally refused to extend last year’s Barnett Guarantee that provided certainty on the amount of consequential funding – which Ms Forbes has said leaves Scotland driving our recovery and meeting climate targets “with one hand tied behind our back”.
A centralised approach to ‘Levelling Up’ will also continue to see money that the Scottish Government would have previously received under the EU Structural Fund programmes being distributed directly by the UK Government according to its own agenda.
The Scottish Government has further criticised the lack of ambition on climate change in this budget, noting the snubbing of a North East Scotland carbon capture project that would have created up to 20,000 jobs and built on the region’s energy expertise.
This budget is failing Scotland by failing to tackle the cost of living and climate crises – with cuts, tax hikes and the soaring cost of Brexit to leave Angus families hundreds of pounds worse off next year.
What has been outlined falls far short of the ambition required to build a fair and sustainable recovery from the pandemic – something it is clear there cannot be under Westminster control.
This budget does not come close to providing the support that people in Angus and across Scotland need as they face rising energy costs, inflation and the impact of the Brexit labour shortage crisis.
It is little wonder that the people of Scotland voted overwhelming in May for the choice of a better future – independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts and bring a fair recovery to Angus.