Chancellor accused of ‘short-changing’ Scotland ahead of Budget

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
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The Finance Secretary has set out a list of demands to the Treasury in advance of the UK Government’s Autumn Budget next week, accusing the Chancellor of “short-changing” Scotland.

Derek Mackay is calling on the Government to ditch its austerity agenda and take measures to help boost Scotland’s economy and safeguard public services.

Reversing plans for a further £3.5 billion in cuts is a key demand, and others include providing sufficient money to lift the one per cent public sector pay cap, allowing the police and fire services to recover their VAT, and stopping a £600 million reduction for Scotland’s railways.

Further calls include ensuring Scotland gets its fair share of funding following the deal with the DUP, to provide greater certainty over future EU grants in the face of Brexit, and to give Scottish farmers their share of the Common Agricultural Policy convergence uplift.

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Mr Mackay also wants the Treasury to give £40 million to National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and to pause the rollout of Universal Credit for a redesign.

The Treasury said UK Government spending decisions have provided Scotland with more than £2 billion additional funding since 2015.

Mr Mackay said: “Scotland is suffering from the economic uncertainty caused by impending Brexit, ideological cuts and economic incompetence from the UK Government.

“Across so many policy areas, the short-changing of Scotland is increasingly blatant and contemptible.

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“This budget gives the Chancellor an opportunity to repair some of the damage and put right injustices that the Government he belongs to have created.

“The Scottish Government remains steadfast in its opposition to the UK Government’s austerity agenda, which disproportionately hurts the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

“The Chancellor must reverse his plans to cut an additional £3.5bn, halt his £600m reduction for Scotland’s railways and finally address the issue of police and fire VAT that has cost Scotland’s emergency services £140m to date.

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“I am calling on the Chancellor to use his Autumn Budget to recognise the serious challenges we are facing as a result of Brexit.

“He must bring forward substantial measures to boost the economy and ease the pressure on the public sector and those who work in it.”