The Scottish Government has been told to make PS500million in spending cuts by acting Finance Secretary, John Swinney. The cuts are a stark reminder of the Scottish Government’s limited borrowing and tax powers. The cuts are equivalent to about 1% of the PS56billion budget for 2022/23.
The Scottish Government has called on the UK Government to increase funding to devolved administrations to help tackle the price of energy. While the UK Government has capped energy prices for the next two years, Nicola Sturgeon says this is not enough and more must be done to combat the cost of living crisis.
Nicola Sturgeon has said the cost of living crisis will be front and centre of her plans and that she is determined to find solutions to this “incredible problem”. As the next UK prime minister, Liz Truss will take office on Tuesday, the same day as Scotland’s first minister unveils her agenda.
The UK Government has also increased funding for Covid. This has been confirmed by UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who says the additional funding will be added to the autumn budget 2021. In response to the Scottish Government’s request, Nicola Sturgeon has said she will check to ensure that the extra funding reaches the devolved administrations. She will ensure that the money is used to benefit local businesses.
The new prime minister is due to visit Scotland next week and has been criticised by the SNP over its plans for independence. She has also attacked the Labour administration in Wales and the Sinn Fein Party in Northern Ireland. However, Truss has promised to invest in infrastructure across the UK and open new export markets.
Sturgeon is right to call for more money for devolved administrations. She has the backing of the majority of Scots and Welsh. She is the leader of the five million Scots and the three million Welsh. Politics is about ideas, and tackling the crises facing the United Kingdom requires a united front.
Currently, the UK Government has allocated PS12.6 billion to devolved administrations, a rise of PS1.3 billion compared to last year. This increase has been confirmed in the Autumn Budget. This funding includes vaccines and tests for the whole UK, support for UK businesses, and employment schemes.
The UK government has previously called for the Scottish government to be on the negotiating team at the Paris climate summit. However, Sturgeon did not want to be excluded from the process, saying that she would be attending. But Johnson is unlikely to want to leave Sturgeon out of the running for a platform, as this would risk a political row that would be damaging to both sides.
In an open letter to the Heads of Government Council, the First Minister has called for more funds to be allocated to devolved administrations. She stressed the need for targeted support for the poorest households, and has condemned the tax cuts proposed by Boris Johnson’s successor.