The Scottish Government needs to embrace local devolution within Scotland if our great cities are not to be left behind those in England, David Mundell has warned.
The Scottish Secretary was addressing an audience of business leaders at Glasgow’s ‘State of the City’ Economy conference today (25 November).
Speaking two days after the Autumn Statement delivered an £800 million boost to Scotland, Mr Mundell urged the Scottish Government to use the funding for projects which would raise productivity and promote economic growth.
He also called on the Scottish Government to rethink its tax plans ahead of the Scottish budget on 15 December, to ease the burden on middle income families and larger businesses.
The Secretary of State also highlighted the ongoing support for City Deals outlined in the Autumn Statement.
Mr Mundell said:
On City Deals and devolution:
…true devolution does not mean sucking power down from Westminster only to hoard it at Holyrood.
So the Glasgow Region City Deal was a huge step forward and it is the start of a bright period in Glasgow’s history. But it could be the beginning of something greater.
I urge the Scottish Government to embrace the principles of devolution with a whole heart, as the UK Government has done across England.
Because otherwise – however much we try with the levers that remain to us – Scotland’s towns and cities will fall behind those in the rest of the UK.
Following the Autumn statement, he said:
…thanks to the UK Government, the Scottish Government will have an extra £800 million to invest in Scotland’s infrastructure for the rest of the decade.
It will be for Derek Mackay and the Scottish Government to set out how it will use this substantial additional funding for Scotland in their budget in December.
The Scottish Government now have more funding, more powers, and the economic security of the broad shoulders of the UK.
I hope they will choose to support businesses…, rethinking their large business supplement and investing in the infrastructure you rely on.
And I hope they will choose to support hardworking Scots, rethinking their income tax rise on middle-income families.
But it is their decision, and we will all be watching on 15 December.
On the UK Government’s new Industrial Strategy, he said:
We’re focused on developing a strategy that will boost productivity, create good jobs, and ensure sustainable economic growth.