The Scottish Government will receive a minimum of £1.9 billion in additional funding this year, on top of £4.6 billion confirmed since March to help provide support following the coronavirus pandemic, the UK government has announced.
The unprecedented upfront guarantee – which will take the total amount of coronavirus funding guaranteed to the Scottish Government to a minimum of £6.5 billion for 2020/21 on top of their Spring Budget funding – will give the devolved administration the certainty and financial flexibility to plan for the months ahead.
Any changes to the devolved administrations funding are normally confirmed at the end of the financial year, but this guarantee means they have the certainty to spend this funding now, on priorities such as the NHS and additional business support.
This funding is on top of the Spending Round 2019 settlement which was the biggest day-to-day funding increase in a decade.
Today’s announcement follows the Prime Minister’s visit to Scotland yesterday, where he reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to the union, and pledged further support for Scottish communities.
The announcement is welcomed by Borders politicians, John Lamont MP and Rachael Hamilton MSP.
John Lamont MP said: “This unprecedented upfront guarantee is yet another sign of the strength of the Union and the UK Government’s commitment to securing an economic recovery for the whole of the United Kingdom.
“The UK Government’s world-leading package of support to protect the economy has provided billions of pounds of support to business in Scotland during the crisis – protecting jobs and livelihoods here in the Scottish Borders and across the country.
“I welcome the additional £1.9 billion announced and urge the SNP Government to utilise this fully to ensure people, businesses and public services in Scotland get the support they need to recover from the pandemic.”
Rachael Hamilton MSP added: “This is a fantastic guarantee for Scotland from the Conservative UK Government, in addition to the wider package of measures already introduced to revitalise the economy.
“The pandemic has been devastating for our economy and this direct funding from the UK Treasury will be crucial to protect jobs and ensure our economy bounces back from Covid-19. The colossal value of the Union to Scotland and the Borders is clearer than ever before.
“I am glad the UK Government has been proactive in helping our businesses recover. The SNP Government now need to step up and detail how it plans to use this funding to our benefit in the months ahead”.
Ahead of his visit to Edinburgh, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay MP said: “At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we said we would do everything we could to support the whole of the UK – whether that’s saving jobs or ensuring our vital NHS has the equipment it needs. And that is exactly what we have done.
“Today we go one step further by giving the Scottish Government the certainty they need to plan their own support schemes over the next few months.
“To date, more than 890,000 jobs in Scotland have been supported through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
“Scotland has also benefitted from the measures set out in the Plan for Jobs, including the Job Retention Bonus, funding to decarbonise public sector buildings, a demonstrator project to decarbonise social housing and funding to support research and development for Direct Air Capture, and VAT cuts for hospitality and tourism, as well as a Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme.
“The UK Government is committed to strengthening the Union between England and Scotland, rebuilding vital connections with all parts of the UK and spreading opportunity.”
Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack said:
“It’s great news that the UK Treasury is providing the Scottish Government with a total of £6.5 billion in additional funding to tackle coronavirus, on top of their block grant. This will give them certainty of funding for the rest of the financial year, helping them to plan investment in the economy and public services effectively.”