Budget 2021: Sunak confirms extra funding for devolved nations
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Rishi Sunak delivered the UK Government’s tax and spending plans in a statement to the House of Commons today. Speaking in the Commons this afternoon, Mr Sunak said Scotland was due £1.2 billion in Barnett consequentials from UK spending choices, while the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit has been extended to September, with the end date of the furlough scheme also pushed back.
Among the cash includes £57 million of investment to turbocharge green recovery whilst the “Union” boost will accelerate the creation of almost 13,000 jobs.
But Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford warned the Budget was a “return to austerity” and failed to tackle inequality.
The pair have also been calling to make the £20 Universal Credit increase permanent.
In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Ms Forbes urged the UK Government to support Scotland as lockdown measures are set to be eased over the next six weeks.
The Scottish Government minister said the levelling-up fund had left a £400 million hole in the Scottish Government’s coffers after the UK Government decided the fund should be administered across the entirety of the UK by Westminster, instead of by the SNP led administration.
Ms Forbes added: “While I welcome some of the announcements today, it is clear the Chancellor has not matched Scotland’s ambition for economic recovery and supporting households.
“The UK Government’s support for businesses and households is significantly less generous than what we have committed to here in Scotland.”
Mr Blackford said: “The Tories are threatening Scotland’s recovery with a return to austerity cuts, an extreme Brexit, and a Budget that completely failed to deliver the meaningful change and investment needed to build a fairer society.
“The UK has suffered the worst economic slump of any major economy, UK unemployment is rising, and millions of families have seen their incomes slashed – but the Chancellor has added to this misery by imposing a public sector pay freeze, cliff edge cuts to Universal Credit, and tax rises for millions of workers.”
Mr Blackford said voters in Scotland faced a choice between “two futures” at May’s Holyrood election.
But Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the Chancellor’s pledge showed the “strength of the Union” to Scotland.
He said: “The UK Government’s ‘fiscal firepower’ will continue to protect jobs and livelihoods right across the United Kingdom as we get through the pandemic.
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“As we have seen over the past year, and again from the Chancellor in the Budget, the strength of the Union, and the support provided by the UK Treasury, has never been more important to Scotland.”
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross praised the Budget, describing it as delivering “vast economic support and investment to individuals, businesses and communities across Scotland”.
He added: “The Scottish Conservatives worked closely and constructively with the Chancellor in recent months.
“That has now positively delivered on many of our demands that will help Scotland’s economic recovery and continue to support those who need it most as restrictions continue.”
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