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Monday, May 20, 2024

Autumn Statement Offers Worst Case Scenario for Scotland

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Deputy First Minister responds to announcements from Chancellor.

The Autumn Statement delivered the ‘worst case scenario’ for Scotland’s finances and failed to live up to the challenges posed by the cost of living and climate crises, Deputy First Minister Shona Robison has said.

The statement failed to deliver the investment needed in services and infrastructure, Ms Robison said.

While welcoming the increase in the statutory minimum wage, she said this did not go far enough and fell well short of the Real Living Wage of £12 an hour for 2024-25.

The Deputy First Minister said:

“The Autumn Statement from the UK Government has delivered what is the worst case scenario for Scotland’s finances.

“Scotland needed a fair deal on investment for infrastructure, public services and pay deals – the UK Government has let Scotland down on every count.

“We needed investment in the services that people rely on and in infrastructure vital to the economy, but the Chancellor’s actions failed to live up to the challenges we are facing as a nation, while not doing enough to help those on the lowest incomes.

“The cut to National Insurance shows the UK Government has the wrong priorities at the wrong time, depriving public services of vital funding.

“Shockingly, the health funding announced today represents an increase of less than 0.06% to Scotland’s health budget in 2023-24 of £19.138 billion.

“The increases to the state pension and Local Housing Allowance are welcome, but the increase to the minimum wage falls well short of the Real Living Wage.

“Some of the measures for businesses are also positive, but they come in the face of UK growth having been projected downwards as a result of Brexit and the UK Government’s mismanagement of the economy.

“As global temperatures push ever higher, the Autumn Statement was a chance to fund efforts to cut the UK’s carbon emissions – but it did not.

“It’s not enough to say they support measures to encourage more renewable energy developments and expand the UK’s electricity grid need.

“It needs to be matched with funding to actually deliver and help us meet our net zero targets.

“We will now assess the full implications of today’s statement as we develop a Budget that meets the needs of the people of Scotland, in line with our missions of equality, community and opportunity.”

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