Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has expressed her disappointment that the Chancellor has failed to deliver for Scotland on the key measures needed to support the economy.
Linda said “The Chancellor has ignored the needs of Scotland in a Budget which shows the UK government has its priorities all wrong, and that Scotland now urgently needs the real economic powers of independence.
“George Osborne has prioritised a tax cut for the wealthiest, while penalising public sector workers, such as those in DIFD in East Kilbride, with a regional pay plan and adding to the burden faced by Scottish households and businesses through soaring fuel prices.
“This Budget fails the growth and fairness test. At a time when growth is very low in the economy, and significant stimulus is required, the Chancellor has allocated next to no new resources and taken no major initiatives to support this effort.
“At the Prime Minister’s request, the Scottish Government gave the UK Government a list of ‘shovel ready’ projects in Scotland worth £300 million which could start in the next financial year.?
“There was no green light today and efforts to build economic recovery have not been given the boost we called for.? These projects offered real opportunities, particularly for young people in our Town, who have been ignored by the Chancellor.
“We needed help for small business that for too long have been deprived of affordable finance, limiting their ability to support investment and jobs in the economy.
“The Finance Secretary, here in Scotland, has said he will monitor very carefully the National Loan Guarantee Scheme to ensure SMEs in Scotland secure more access to finance than Scottish companies have in Project Merlin where less than 5% of gross lending went to SMEs in Scotland.
“We needed to see a sustained, targeted programme of capital investment to act as an economic stimulus. Unfortunately the Chancellor failed to deliver. The Budget delivers only £4 million a year for Scotland, mere tinkering at the edges of what was required.
“While the Scottish Government is doing everything that it can to protect household budgets with the economic levers that it has – such as freezing the council tax and protecting free prescriptions – even the positive measures announced by the Chancellor, like the increase in personal tax allowances, will be swallowed up by higher fuel prices and VAT.
“It is clear that Scotland needs the same financial and economic powers as other nations have, so that we can grow our economy and revenues as the only alternative to a decade or more of Westminster-dictated cuts. We have used the powers we have wisely – we now need the same powers as other countries have in order to sort this mess out.”