South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has described today’s (22 November) budget from the UK Government as a “huge missed opportunity for the South of Scotland” and warned that with the Chancellor reducing projections for economic growth in his budget, the economy of the area will continue to lag behind.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “The budget was a huge missed opportunity for the South of Scotland. Despite all the hype about supporting a Borderlands Growth Deal, the Chancellor failed to allocate a single penny for such a deal which is deeply disappointing. With economic growth forecasts down and no new investment, it is clear that the economy of the south of Scotland is going to continue to lag behind the rest of the UK as a result of this budget. The continuation of austerity will also mean more cuts to our schools and hospitals and with wages down, but prices in the shops rising, families locally are becoming worse off all the time.
“The Tory Government should have used the budget to pause the disastrous Universal Credit which will be rolled out early next year in the area but their failure to do so will cause utter misery for local families affected”
“The Chancellor’s commitment to exempt emergency services from VAT is welcome but does not go far enough. £140m has been unfairly taken from our emergency services by the Tory Government over the past few years following the SNP’s incompetent centralisation of police and fire services and this has led to massive cuts with the closure of the police and fire control rooms in Dumfries and police station closures across the south of Scotland. We need to ensure that every penny that will be saved by this VAT exemption goes to protecting police and fire services.”