Scotland is to benefit from nearly £1billion in extra spending as a result of measures set out in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget today.
Scots workers will also enjoy an early tax cut of £130 next year as the “personal allowance” is extended to £12,500 - a year earlier than originally planned.
The extra cash for Scotland comes as a result of spending south of the border on devolved areas - particularly the NHS - which means Scotland gets a knock-on uplift through so called “Barnett consequentials.”
About £950 million willl be made available to the Scottish Government which ministers can choose to spend on priorities. Around £550 million comes from health spending knock-ons south of the border and the SNP Government in Scotland has already pledged to spend this cash on the NHS.
‘The ball is in Derek Mackay’s Court’
Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson carlaw said: “The ball is now in Derek Mackay’s court.
“With tax cuts being delivered south of the border, the case for yet more SNP tax rises next year in Scotland is simply unsustainable.
“Nicola Sturgeon must rule it out, now.
“The Chancellor has today said that austerity is coming to an end.
“We now need to see an end to the SNP’s high-tax agenda, replacing it with a plan to support jobs and grow the economy.”
Why Scots are affected by personal allowance raise
The Scottish Government has control over incomes tax rates and bands north of the border - but the level of personal allowance remains reserved to Westminster which is why Scots are affected by the Chancellor’s announcement on this. Middle earners south of the border will also see the 40% Higher rate extended to kick in at £50,000 representing another tax break. It means the gap is growing in the tax burden faced by workers on such a salary in Scotland - where they pay more - and their counterparts south of the border.
Scotland’s Finance Secretary will unveil his own budget early next month in response to the spending plans set out today.
Mr Carlaw added: “We said we would speak to the SNP about getting its own budget through if it slashed air passenger duty, supported the high street, and ruled out another independence referendum.
“The Chancellor has called Derek Mackay’s bluff, and now he has nowhere to hide.
“He has a huge up-front payment of the money to transform our health service and funds to support our high streets. There can be no more excuses.”
Scottish Government Response
The Scottish Government responded to the £950m boost for Scotland by tweeting: “Scotland’s resource block grant in today’s @GOVUK budget is almost £2 billion lower in real terms for 2019/20 compared to 2010/11.”
Finance Minister Derek Mackay added: “I asked the Tories to ‘show me the money’ when they declared austerity was over, looking at their budget they have instead short-changed Scotland, and particularly the NHS.”