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Pete Wishart's response to the 2021 UK budget

Published date : 29 October, 2021

Financial support for Scottish businesses

Scotland is yet to receive a single penny from the UKG to mitigate the impact of Brexit, compared to Ireland who were granted €1.05 billion from the EU. The £1.4 UK-wide billion Global Britain Investment fund will prove futile.

The UKG is to provide £150m to support Scottish business, but this is to be disbursed through the British Business Bank, who do not have Scotland’s interests at heart.

This funding shortfall will massively limit growth potential for businesses across Perth and North Perthshire, and Scotland more generally. This is especially shocking at a time where businesses have been forced to foot the bill for costly operational changes in the post-pandemic, post-Brexit economy.

Climate crisis

On the evermore urgent climate crisis, the UKG is also failing to match their commitments with sufficient spending. Germany and France have pledged to spend 1.2% of their GDP on their respective recovery packages for Green policies. It is ludicrous that the UKG plans to proclaim itself as a leader in the fight against climate change at COP26 without even being able to match this figure.

Last year’s floods in Perth showed just how real the climate crisis is for us all, and events like that are bound to become more frequent unless we make major investments and fulfil our commitment to becoming net-zero. A starting point would be for the UKG to match the Scottish Government’s £500 million Just Transition fund.

The “zero carbon bus tour” stopped off in Perth this week, showing that we already have the technology to make clean transport a reality, but not with the funding that was offered in the budget.

Ian Blackford summarized the budget’s impact on Scotland excellently:

"Under the Tories, the UK has the worst levels of poverty and inequality in north west Europe and the highest levels of in-work poverty this century. Yet, this Budget did nothing to tackle the Tory cost of living crisis. The piecemeal measures won't even offset Tory Universal Credit cuts, National Insurance hikes or rising inflation, let alone boost incomes.

"The Tory government has short-changed Scotland by billions of pounds. It has broken its pledge to invest in Scottish carbon capture projects, failed to match the Scottish Government's £500million just transition fund, failed to fully replace EU funding for Scottish local authorities, and failed to compensate Scotland for the damage of Brexit.”

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