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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

UK Autumn Statement leaves significant cuts for Scotland

Russell Gunson, Director of IPPR Scotland, responding to today's UK Autumn Statement, said:

"Today's Autumn Statement confirms that the UK-wide economy is in trouble. We are now projected to have slower growth, lower productivity, higher borrowing and higher inflation than estimated even in March, and this has indeed led to a large black hole in the public finances, worth tens of billions of pounds.

"Before today's announcements Scotland was already facing significant spending cuts over the coming years, leaving unprotected budgets in Scotland billions of pounds smaller over the next few years than they stood at the start of this parliament. Thankfully today's Autumn Statement will unlikely add more cuts to day to day spending in Scotland, with the UK Government choosing to borrow more rather than add additional cuts. However, that still leaves a very significant, and unprecedented, spending challenge for Scotland over the coming years.

"Scotland will see significant new funding for capital spending, with the investment in roads and infrastructure in the rest of the UK, seeing additional funding in Scotland. However, while this will be welcomed, this will not help to stop the cuts to Scotland's day to spending on health, education or other public services. How the Scottish Government allocates this funding in Scotland will be crucial to meet the challenge of boosting Scotland's productivity, pay and economic growth.

"The changes to Universal Credit and increases in the national minimum wage announced today will see some money into the pockets of people working in Scotland. However, any increases will be significantly outweighed by the benefits cuts already announced by the UK Government and planned for the next few years, leaving the poorest households in Scotland poorer."