Glad to join Emma Barnet on BBC 5 Live earlier, thinking ahead to the Chancellor's statement. You can listen to my contributions using the link below, or the whole programme on i-player. Having now heard what Rishi Sunk had to say, we had called for an £80bn stimulus package to build a strong, green and inclusive economic recovery and while there are elements in this announcement to be welcomed, for instance measures on VAT for tourism and hospitality, overall this package is a huge opportunity missed.
It falls well short of delivering what is needed to boost the economy and protect jobs.There is no new capital spend, no extension to the furlough scheme for hard-hit sectors and no further support for households in financial difficulty. A half price meal out does not help those struggling to put food on the table. In addition, many of the initiatives are short-lived and provide no long term certainty for business or households, but instead push problems back to the end of the year when we will also have to deal with the end of the transition period with the EU.
Regrettably, despite announcing new funding measures worth up to £30bn today, most of it bypasses devolution and does not provide the Scottish Government with the funding we need to enable us to tailor an economic response that meets Scotland’s needs.
Like all governments, the Scottish Government is facing huge spending pressures but is not permitted to have the tools others have to meet them. Along with the Governments of Wales and Northern Ireland, the Scottish Government set out a reasonable, proportionate set of new financial powers that would enable the Scottish Government to respond effectively. Regrettably, the UK Government has turned a deaf ear to those needs. That is not good enough.