The Chancellor George Osborne set out a historic Budget for Scotland, designed to make Britain fit for the future at a time of increasing global economic uncertainty.
The UK government is delivering on the vow we made to the Scottish people to make the Scottish Parliament one of the most powerful and accountable devolved Parliaments in the world, with the economic and national security that comes from being part of the UK.
This is the last Budget where a UK Chancellor sets the main income tax rates and thresholds for Scottish taxpayers, with that decision being taken by the Scottish Government from 2017.
Scotland will also benefit from a number of significant measures set out in the Budget including:
The biggest boost to the oil and gas industry in over 20 years, including permanently zero-rating Petroleum Revenue Tax and cutting the Supplementary Charge. This will help support the industry through the challenging commercial conditions caused by the steep fall in oil prices benefiting those UK jobs supported by the oil and gas industry – nearly half of which are in Scotland.
The income tax personal allowance will increase to £11,500 in 2017-18; a £500 increase. By 2017-18, 2.6m individuals in Scotland will gain by £164 and a total of 113,000 individuals will have been removed from income tax altogether, compared to 2015-16.
Following the £125 million commitment to an Aberdeen City Deal earlier this year, good progress is being made towards an Inverness City Deal and the government is opening formal negotiations with local partners and the Scottish Government towards a deal for Edinburgh and South East Scotland.
The freezing of duty on Scotch whisky, continuing the government’s support for this great British success story.
A comprehensive science and innovation audit, benefitting Edinburgh and the Lothians, to map the area’s research strengths in data-driven innovation and identify areas of potential global competitive advantage.
Support for Scotland’s cultural heritage, creative industries, and communities with a contribution of £5 million to the City of Dundee’s V&A development and £150,000 towards local regeneration projects in New Cumnock.
£5 million from banking fines for a new leisure facility in Helensburgh, which will benefit both local residents and Royal Navy personnel and their families stationed nearby at Faslane.
The Chancellor said:
If Britain is to be fit for the future, we need to give our great nations real incentives to grow the private sector, and reap the rewards when they do.
So my Budget today put the next generation in Scotland first with a huge package of measures to support 2.6 million people thanks to an increase in the Income Tax personal allowance and a tax cut for 73,000 Scottish businesses thanks to the decision to reduce Corporation Tax to 17% in 2020-21.
I also announced £1 billion of new support for the North Sea oil and gas industry to make sure that we continue to provide the crucial backing it needs. This represent the biggest package of support any government, anywhere in the world has given to the oil and gas sector in response to the fall in oil prices.
We will open negotiations on a city deal with Edinburgh, back the new V&A in Dundee and help deliver regeneration in New Cumnock.
And I’m also spending £5 million of Libor fines to deliver a badly needed new community facilities for local people in Helensburgh and the nearby Royal Navy personnel in Faslane.
This is a Budget that delivers on our plan to build a stronger Scottish economy as part of the UK and puts the next generation first.
The Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said:
This is a very good Budget for Scotland - it shows that the UK Government has listened and delivered.
We have responded to the crisis in the oil and gas industry with a major package of measures worth £1 billion to the sector. That’s on top of the £1.3billion of support previously announced in last year’s Budget and the £250 million Aberdeen City Deal. This will help protect jobs and the long-term future of the North East.
Because of action the UK Government is taking on education and business rates in England, there will be an additional £650 million available to the Scottish Government through the Barnett formula. This, along with the power to set income tax rates and thresholds which the Scotland Bill delivers, will allow the Scottish Government to invest more in schools and hospitals in Scotland if it chooses to.
The freeze in fuel duty and on spirit duty for Scotch whisky is good news particularly for rural Scotland – and the whisky and gin industries in particular.
The good progress being made on both the Inverness and Edinburgh City Deals shows that we are working hard for all parts of Scotland.
This is an historic Budget for Scotland because from next year, the Scottish Government will set income tax rates and thresholds for Scottish taxpayers. The Chancellor has given it an excellent platform from which to take up its new responsibilities.
It is now for the Scottish parties to set out to the people of Scotland what their plans are for the new powers and what that will mean for Scottish taxpayers.