You need us! Sturgeon blow as independent Scotland faces £14bn black hole without UK cash

Alister Jack says SNP ‘masquerading as a party of government’

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Data from the Treasury’s Block Grant Transparency revealed today shows that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government has received an additional £14.5billion. The Block Grant Transparency also shows the Welsh Government received an additional £8.6billion and the Northern Ireland Executive an additional £5.0billion.

Funding to the devolved administrations is allocated through the Barnett formula allocation.

As well as £14.5billion of funding from the UK Government, additional support also includes the furlough scheme, of which SNP ministers have requested an extension, support for self-employed people and help for businesses.

Chief Secretary Stephen Barclay and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack today told Express.co.uk the UK Government was “fully committed” to supporting the entirety of the UK including Scotland.

Mr Barclay said the funding has helped to “protect 1 million jobs across Scotland.”

The UK Government told Express.co.uk they wanted to highlight the message of how much they help the Scottish Government following a row today over a second independence referendum with Nicola Sturgeon and Michael Gove.

In an interview, Mr Gove was challenged on whether there is “any circumstance” in which Mr Johnson would approve a referendum before a May 2024 election.

Mr Gove responded: “I don’t think so.”

Asked whether his position is that “there will be no referendum before the 2024 election”, he replied: “I can’t see it.”

But Nicola Sturgeon hit back and claimed the comments were “sneering, arrogant condescension”.

A UK Government source added to this publication: “We have helped Scotland so much during the pandemic but all they [the SNP] want to do is to stoke division with a second referendum.

“These figures very much show how Scotland benefits from being in the United Kingdom, independence would certainly change this.

“The appreciation of what we do to help the Scottish Government is too little.”

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Scottish Secretary Alister Jack added: “This extensive support, which now enables us to look towards recovery, shows how Scotland benefits from being part of a strong United Kingdom.

“Never has the value of the Union been more important or more apparent.”

Newly appointed Scottish Government Finance Minister Tom Arthur has also called for further financial flexibility in its funding arrangement with the UK Government as he delivered the Government’s budget outturn.

He said the Scottish Government had fulfilled its obligation to deliver a balanced budget in the financial year, with 99 percent of the £48.5billion budget spent.

However, the Scottish Government underspent in 2020/21 by £449million.

The Renfrewshire South MSP admitted: “What is not in doubt is that significant budget challenges lie ahead.

“And these funding challenges will continue as we target our resources at stimulating a safe, swift and sustainable recovery for our communities, our public services and our economy.”

Murdo Fraser MSP, Scottish Conservative Covid Recovery spokesman, added: “At every turn during the pandemic, the UK Government has stepped up to protect vital jobs and livelihoods in Scotland.

“With almost £15billion extra being given to the SNP Government, it is imperative that they use this money at their disposal to accelerate our economic recovery as restrictions continue to ease.

“Too often during this crisis, SNP Ministers have been far too slow to get funding to businesses and individuals.”

 

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