Labour demand £1bn 'unallocated' Scottish Government money go to Covid recovery
According to Scottish Labour, analysis of government spending by the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre shows around £1bn in the Scottish budget – the result of increased public spending in England – is yet to be allocated.
The party’s finance spokesman Daniel Johnson says the money includes £700 million from UK Government health and social care expenditure, and called for £420m of it to be earmarked for a pay rise to £12 an hour for social care staff, with the remainder to be used to help re-mobilise the NHS and restart cancer services.
The remaining £300m, he said, should be put to use to stimulate the high street to protect jobs and businesses and drive up economic growth through a high street voucher campaign as his party had suggested during the election campaign.
However, the Scottish Government rejected the claim that any Barnett consequentials were unallocated.
Mr Johnson said the “scale of the economic crisis facing the country” meant the government had to spend the money quickly.
He said: “The Scottish Government must use every resource at its disposal to deliver a national recovery for everyone – we simply cannot afford to have £1bn sitting unspent.
“We are staring down the barrel at a looming jobs crisis and our NHS is in desperate need of re-mobilisation. The frontline social care staff, for whom we all clapped during the pandemic, are still going without the proper pay that they deserve.
“That’s why every penny of this £1bn must be used to deliver fair pay for care workers, help re-mobilise our NHS and stimulate our high street.”
However, a Scottish Government spokesperson said more than £3bn in support had been provided for business since the start of the pandemic and added: “We have committed every penny of these consequentials to our pandemic response, notably to support Scotland’s businesses and their recovery, NHS, other public services and the rollout of vaccines.”
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