After unveiling a £ 4.6 billion aid plan to support industries through the recent freeze, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak was accused of making a “embarrassing U-turn” and “shortchanging” Scotland.
The Holyrood government, however, insisted that the money was not fresh, whilst the Scottish Labour Party accused the Treasury of rapidly reneging on a commitment.
Sunak said more than 600,000 retail, hospitality and leisure businesses across the U.K., in response to the latest tightening of Covid 19 restrictions. As part of a £4 billion assistance package, they could apply for a one-off grant of up to £9,000. To support companies who do not apply for the grants, a further £ 594 million was announced for local authorities and devolved administrations.
The Treasury said the new money means that £ 375 million would be raised by the Scottish government, £ 227 million by the Welsh government and £ 127 million by the Northern Ireland Executive.
“This will help businesses get through the coming months and, very importantly, it will help keep jobs so workers are ready to return when they can reopen.”This will help companies get through the coming months and, most importantly, it will help keep jobs so that when they can reopen, workers are ready to return.
The Scottish finance minister, Kate Forbes, however, confessed to being “surprised and disappointed” to hear that the funds are not fresh, but that they are part of the money already declared by the United Kingdom. Oh. Government.
The Scottish government said that the funding was part of the funds already guaranteed to the devolved governments by the Treasury – which are estimated to exceed £ 8.6 billion for Scotland this fiscal year – that had been previously announced and much of which Edinburgh had already budgeted for.
“We are both surprised and disappointed that, despite initial indications, the UK government’s announcement of additional funding for businesses in England will not generate any further new funding for the Scottish government or other devolved administrations,” Ms. Forbes said.
“This is a blow to Scottish businesses whose expectations were raised by the announcement, and I will be writing to the chancellor to raise the issue.”
She added: “We fully understand that while the tough new constraints now in place are needed to slow the spread of the virus, they are a further blow to companies.”
“That’s why we’ve allocated £570 million to support businesses since October, and that amount will increase because of the number of new businesses eligible for support under the latest restrictions.”
Fiona Hyslop, the business secretary of the Scottish government, also noted on Twitter, “The UK government announces that new funding will come to Scotland in the morning, and the Scottish Government’s Treasury has said there is nothing new for Scottish businesses at lunchtime.” Scottish firms can’t be handled like that.
Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s finance spokesman, made similar remarks, saying, “It took the Tory government just minutes to renege on its promise of additional funding for Scotland on top of the UK-wide support program announced today.”
This is an embarrassing U-turn that leaves shortchanged Scottish companies and staff.
“It is time for the UK government to deliver on its original statement and provide the additional funding for the devolved nations and regions on top of the UK-wide funding package,” she said.
Her party pointed out that the UK government announced a UK-wide business support package on Tuesday morning in which the Scottish government will receive £ 375 million on top of the already promised “increased funding”
But minutes later, the announcement on the website of the Treasury was altered to clarify that the £ 375 million made available to Edinburgh would now be “add to funding already guaranteed by the UK government.”
The Scottish minister, Alister Jack, appeared to admit that the money was not fresh, but he encouraged the Scottish government to use the £ 8.6 billion that Whitehall had allocated to help companies north of the border.
The UK government’s goal, as during the crisis, remains to keep people safe and build jobs in all parts of the world.