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UK Government must end austerity and protect public services
The UK Government’s budget must set out measures to protect households in Scotland from further austerity and invest in public services Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has said.
Speaking ahead of the UK Budget, Mr Mackay has called for a reversal of the UK Government’s damaging austerity plans, an end to welfare cuts and further immediate support for the oil and gas sector.
Mr Mackay said:
“The Chancellor has an opportunity in his budget today to offer some much needed financial relief for households and public services. The UK Government plan for an additional £3.5 billion of spending cuts in 2019-20, at precisely the point when the UK’s departure from the EU could occur is disastrous. I say clearly to the Chancellor – this is the wrong time for austerity.
“We need to see investment and support for economic growth from the UK Government at a time when Brexit poses a self-inflicted and unprecedented risk to the UK economy, public finances and consumer confidence.
“The cuts already planned by the UK Government mean that by 2019-20, the Scottish Government’s discretionary budget will be £2.9 billion (9.2%) lower in real terms than it was in 2010-11. Any change in spending must be seen against the context of the huge cuts we are already facing.
“A particular issue for both Scotland and the UK is the future of the oil and gas industry. We have repeatedly called on the UK government to take steps to incentivise investment and maximise economic recovery. It is encouraging that the UK Government has finally listened to the Scottish Government about the failings of the decommissioning tax regime. This is an area where we have repeatedly called for reform and which the UK Government have been slow to react, therefore it is important that this group comes to a swift conclusion and is not simply another talking shop”