Responding to the Pre-Budget Report today (Monday), SNP Westminster Treasury spokesperson, Stewart Hosie MP, restated demands on the UK Government to release a £1billion of resources to help reflate the Scottish economy.
Mr Hosie said:
“While welcoming aspects of the Chancellor’s programme, and the broad direction of travel in terms of action to accelerate public spending, cut VAT and signal an increase in the top rate of income tax, there is much more that the UK Government should have done.
”Westminster is still sitting on £1billion of Scottish resources which should be released and put to work to help reflate Scotland’s economy.
”The fact that oil revenues have virtually doubled from £7.8bn in 2007/08 to £13.2bn in 2008/09 – a record annual figure, and £3.3bn more than the forecasted £10bn in the previous Budget – shows that the Chancellor’s programme is being backed by Scottish oil.
”Indeed, the Treasury scooped £41bn from the North Sea over the last six years, and is forecast to rake in a further £55bn over the next six years – with next year’s oil revenue bigger even than last year’s.
“At a time when the UK Government’s own budget rules have effectively been set aside in an attempt to get to grips with the financial and banking crisis, it makes every sense for the unfair Westminster controls on Scotland’s budget to be relaxed – so that we can invest in a package to support the real economy.
”Whilst some of the steps set out by Alistair Darling are in the right direction, we needed to have specific and targeted action to help households and business – such as removing VAT on domestic heating this winter, and cutting VAT to 5% minimum for housing repairs.
“While accelerated capital expenditure is welcome, the reality is that there is virtually no new money in the PBR in terms of extra spending for Scotland. And I am very concerned that the PBR contains a cut in Scotland’s Budget 2010/11 over and above any reprofiling of spending.
”It is in all our interests for this recession to be as short and shallow as possible, and Scotland must have the responsibility to use its own resources to the fullest extent and to the maximum benefit for the Scottish economy.”