Today (23 November 2016) at Autumn Statement, the Chancellor set out announcements which will build an economy that works for everyone, in Scotland and the whole of the UK.
The UK Government’s decision to focus on infrastructure spending means that the Scottish Government’s budget will increase by more than £800 million through to 2020-21, giving it even greater spending power to boost productivity and promote growth in Scotland, all while supported by the broad shoulders of the UK.
How the increase in capital budget is spent in Scotland is up to the Scottish Government, which has the opportunity to take its own investment decisions as well as using its own tax, borrowing and welfare powers.
The Autumn Statement also includes direct action that will benefit Scotland – such as the Chancellor’s decision to increase investment in research and development by £2 billion a year by 2020-2, which should benefit Scotland’s thriving universities and research and innovation centres.
In addition to the extra spending power made available to the Scottish Government, Scotland’s cities will continue to benefit from further commitments from the UK government, with funding confirmed for city deals in Aberdeen and Inverness, negotiations for a city deal with Edinburgh ongoing and the UK Government prepared to consider proposals from Tay Cities.
The Autumn Statement announces for the first time that the UK government will also open negotiations with Stirling. This means that the UK government will have agreed, or be in discussions with, each of Scotland’s cities.
The UK government has also taken actions to support people that are just about managing throughout the UK. Fuel duty is frozen for the seventh successive year, which should save the average car driver in Scotland £10 each time they fill their tank. The National Living Wage is increasing from £7.20 to £7.50.
Scotland is also benefiting with more than £3.3 million of LIBOR funding raised from fines levied on banks being distributed to good causes.
Additionally, the government will meet its manifesto commitment to increase the personal allowance to £12,500. Over the last Parliament, 2.4 million individuals in Scotland saw an average gain of £517, due to an increase to the personal allowance.
Scotland, like the rest of the UK, will benefit from the decisions set out in today’s Autumn Statement, as the UK government builds an economy that works for all.
Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell said:
Today’s Autumn Statement will build an economy that works for everyone in Scotland and the rest of the UK. The rise in the National Living Wage means a well deserved pay rise for thousands of Scots, and the freeze in fuel duty will make it about £10 cheaper for drivers every time they fill up their car.
Most significantly for Scotland is the £800 million of extra capital funding. This is as a result of the Chancellor’s decision to invest in infrastructure, but it is for the Scottish Government to step up now. If it is used properly by the Scottish Government, this will make a real difference to productivity, jobs and growth in Scotland.
The UK government’s decisions today mean a secure economy based on the broad shoulders of the UK, more funding and more powers for Scotland.