Spring Budget ‘a betrayal of public services’

Deputy First Minister responds to Chancellor’s statement.

The Spring Budget has failed to deliver the funding Scotland needs for public services, infrastructure and cost of living measures, Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary Shona Robison has said.

The Budget provided less in Barnett consequentials from health than in-year health consequentials of 2023-24, and failed to deliver more capital funding for infrastructure.

The Finance Secretary said:

“Today’s UK Spring Budget is nothing short of a betrayal of public services across the UK. Our hope had been the Chancellor would have eased pressures on services – not least by providing more funding for capital. This would have helped support our NHS and the delivery of more affordable housing, but it would also have created jobs and economic growth, as well as helping secure a just transition to net zero.

“When more support is desperately needed for public services and infrastructure, for greater cost of living measures, and for money to aid our efforts to reduce carbon emissions – Scotland has been badly let down by the UK Government.

“Today’s statement provides not a single penny more for capital funding. And the Barnett consequentials from health that were signalled by the Chancellor are actually less than the in-year health consequentials of 2023-24 and less than what is needed to address the pressures we face. I can guarantee that this Scottish Government will not be passing on this UK Government cut to our NHS.

“The National Insurance cut fails to offset the crippling effects of the Cost of Living crisis. There is also little detail of the spending cuts needed to pay for it. Even before today’s Spring Budget the Institute for Government described its spending plans as a ‘fantasy’, with no detail on where cuts will fall. Today’s statement merely adds to that: according to the UK Government's own financial watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, the Treasury may not even have the headroom available that today's commitments are based on.

“Public services up and down the UK are in real need of investment, and they’re being sacrificed to deliver unsustainable tax cuts.”


The independent Office for Budget Responsibility’s assessment of the Spring Budget highlights the risks to the forecasts, such as uncertainty around inflation, interest rates and productivity growth. The OBR also points out that the forecasts are based on the UK Government’s assumption of no real growth in public spending per person over the next five years, despite the Chancellor committing to increase spending on some major public services in line with or faster than GDP.


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