Funding boost for Scotland, but questions remain
Rishi Sunak delivering his speech
Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a package of measures aimed at improving the country’s infrastructure, helping the low paid and getting the jobless back into work.
Announcing his Spending Review, he outlined the extent of the economic crisis facing the country, but drew concern that his help for the devolved nations may increase tensions with the UK government.
He said that the forecast for UK borrowing will be an eye-watering £394bn this year – equivalent to 19% of GDP, and will rise by a further £55bn next year.
The economy will shrink 11% this year, and recover only about half that ground next year.
Mr Sunak promised more money for the devolved nations with an additional £2.4bn for Scotland (of which £1.3bn was related to coronavirus). This is double the £1.2bn new funding provided for 2020/21 at the 2019 spending round.
It is also in addition to the £8.2bn guaranteed to the Scottish Government in 2020/21, above the funding allocated at the Spring Budget earlier this year in the face of the coronavirus and its impact on the economy.
Scotland will receive a significant boost from more than £100bn of capital investment across the UK in 2021/22, aimed at improving connectivity and productivity.
He announced an £11m acceleration of City and Growth Deal funding over each year that remains in four Scotland Deals.
Tay Cities, Borderlands (Scotland), Moray and the Scottish Islands will be funded over 10 years, rather than 15 years, releasing funding more quickly to enable projects to come online sooner.