SNP MSP accuses Westminster of forcing ‘savage cuts’ to Scottish Government budget

An SNP MSP has accused Westminster of cutting the Scottish Government’s budget amid fears thousands of public sector jobs could be lost.

Kenneth Gibson, head of the Scottish Parliament’s finance committee, said core funding for Holyrood had been cut by 5.2% in real terms and could be further eroded by soaring inflation.

It comes as Finance Secretary Kate Forbes unveiled a spending review last week that saw funding for local authorities and other sectors frozen for the next four years.

The SNP Minister has warned that the number of people employed in the public sector in Scotland cannot continue to rise indefinitely.

Linda Sommerville, of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, said the spending review could render up to 30,000 jobs “unsustainable” if carried out.

Gibson today said the Scottish government was financially constrained because it lacked ‘the borrowing powers of other independent countries’.

But Labor has accused the SNP of a “blatant attempt to divert attention” from its own failures.

Gibson said: “Scotland’s finances have once again been the subject of brutal budget cuts by Westminster – with core funding cut by 5.2% in real terms by the Tories.

“In 2014, Scots were told they would get UK ‘broad shoulders’, but instead Westminster’s control meant cuts, not money for households and public services Across the country.

“The Scottish Government has to work within its fixed budget because we don’t have the borrowing power of other independent countries – so the Conservative cuts decided in London have a direct impact on public services here in Scotland.

“Despite the reduction in the Scottish budget, 90% of the Chancellor’s windfall tax revenue will come from profits made in Scotland.

“It means – not for the first time – that the resources of Scotland are funding the rest of the UK and demonstrating how much stronger we would be as an independent country.

“Just this week, a study from the University of Glasgow found that Scots are dying younger as a result of Tory austerity – it laid bare the direct impact of Westminster cuts on the lives of Scots.

“The Scottish government is working with a hand tied behind its back by a British Conservative government that is imposing cut after cut.”

Scottish Labour’s finance spokesman Daniel Johnson said: ‘The SNP should be ashamed of this blatant attempt to divert attention from its own failure.

“We are facing brutal cuts because their disastrous economic mismanagement has driven down wages, and the reality is that the SNP’s own independence plans would lead to austerity on steroids.

“The way to end the damage inflicted by this out of touch Tory government is not to tear our country apart – it is to force them out of power by voting for Labor in the next general election.

“The SNP’s endless promises of jam tomorrow won’t be enough when people can’t afford to put food on the table today.

“The SNP have been in government for 15 years – they need to stop acting like helpless commentators and act.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “All of Scotland is benefiting from unprecedented support from the UK Government. We are providing the Scottish Government with a record £41billion a year for the next three years – the settlement the higher since devolution, funding for our NHS, our schools and other vital services.

“And after supporting one in three jobs in Scotland during the pandemic, we are offering people a £37 billion UK-wide package to help pay fuel bills and support the most vulnerable, including including pensioners and people with disabilities.

“We are growing the economy across Scotland through our £2bn of regional growth agreements and upgrading initiatives to create a high-skilled, high-wage economy.

“Official Scottish Government figures show that being part of the UK is worth over £2,200 a year for every person in Scotland.

“An agreement to review the fiscal framework is underway and we will continue to work with the Scottish Government for the benefit of people across Scotland during these difficult times.”

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