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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Stone Responds to UK Govt Budget

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Commenting on the Budget announced by the Chancellor, MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Jamie Stone commented:

“This was a budget for a demoralised Government, a Conservative Party out of ideas.

“It was a real disappointment to see that the Chancellor made no recognition of the greater cost of keeping our homes warm.

“Fuel poverty existed in the Highlands long before the Cost of Living crisis, and it will exist for long after if the UK Government does not acknowledge the discrepancy in energy costs in rural areas.

“The Chancellor missed the chance to put right an ugly unfairness that sees our citizens being treated unfairly depending on where in the UK they live.

“There was some welcome news, however.

“It is good that the Chancellor has continued an alcohol duty freeze.

“Whisky distilleries in my constituency will be pleased to hear this.

“That being said, over the past year we have seen the Scottish Government attempt and abandon the Deposit Return Scheme and the UK Government implement a very well hidden rise in alcohol duty.

“All things considered, I would hazard a guess that the whisky industry might just welcome the fresh initiatives that could come with new Governments in both Edinburgh and Westminster. 

“The Chancellor also announced £300 million in Barnett consequentials, the money given to the Scottish Government by the UK Government.

“I sincerely hope that the Scottish Government uses this money to right the wrongs it committed in its own budget just last week, including huge cuts to the housing budget and plans to stall at least a dozen NHS projects, including revamps of Caithness General Hospital and the maternity ward at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.”

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