Stirling MP Alyn Smith and MSP Bruce Crawford have welcomed the commitment from the Scottish Government to pass on any additional benefit Scotland could see as a result of spending announcements made by the Chancellor this week for England.
The Chancellor has pledged to suspend business in England for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 – this includes cinemas, restaurants and hotels.
The Chancellor also committed at least £5 billion in additional funding for the NHS in England to tackle the coronavirus.
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said that all additional funding coming to Scotland, as a result of Barnett consequentials, will go directly to the areas of resilience they are intended for.
Alyn Smith MP said:
“Providing that Scotland gets its share of this funding, there are parts of this week’s Budget that are to be welcomed as sensible measures to help health services and businesses weather the challenges that the current coronavirus pandemic poses.
“This week, I met with Scottish Government Finance Secretary Kate Forbes to discuss this Budget, and raised this specific point. I am pleased, therefore, that the Scottish Government has committed to ensure that any extra funding Scotland sees, as a result of this announcement, will go towards these areas of resilience.
“Scotland already has the most business-friendly environment in the UK, with the fairest non-domestic rates settlement thanks to the SNP Government. We will always seek to find ways to boost, promote and support businesses – particularly through difficult times.”
Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford raised this issue during First Minister’s Questions. The First Minster made clear that the Scottish Government is still awaiting clarity on exactly what the Chancellor’s additional spending announcement will mean for Scotland.
Bruce Crawford MSP said:
“The spread of Covid-19 presents what is likely the biggest challenge Scotland has faced since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999. Depending on the rate of the spread of this virus, and how many people are affected at any given time, it will have an impact on health services as well as business.
“For a period of time, business will not be as usual for many people. For some, that’s much easier said than done, and I have already been contacted by local businesses who are feeling the pinch.
“Therefore, this commitment from the Scottish Government is welcome, but it is with the caveat that we need to see the flow of money coming from Westminster in order to make it happen.”