South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Connectivity and Transport Colin Smyth has said that the UK Government today (Monday 29th October) has failed to deliver for the Borderlands Growth Deal.
The Borderlands Growth Deal is a proposed deal from both Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council on the Scottish border and Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council and Northumberland County Council on the English side.
The Deal proposals were formally submitted at the end of last month. A clear deadline was set by the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, which meant proposals being submitted by the local authorities by the end of September would see a monetary value in the Budget. However, in the budget statement today the UK Government announced £150m for a Tayside Growth Deal but no funds for the Borderlands Growth Deal.
Colin Smyth MSP said, “The Borderlands partners were given a very clear deadline by the Secretary of State for Scotland to submit detailed proposals for the Borderlands Growth Deal and were promised that if they met that deadline the plans would be considered in the budget. The failure to pledge funding in the budget in an utter betrayal by the UK Government and shows you simply cannot trust a word the Secretary of State for Scotland says. This budget means we are no further forward in terms of Government financial support for the Borderlands than we were this time last year. At a time when the local economy is on its knees, people in South Scotland are sick and tired of warm words and platitudes from Government. The time for hard cash is now.”
Colin Smyth has also criticised the budget for failing to deliver the recent claims by the Prime Minister that, “austerity is over”.
Colin Smyth MSP said, “The budget was a real Halloween horror show of broken promises . The Prime Minister promised the people that austerity would end, but this budget fails to deliver that”
“Low paid workers in our area will continue to struggle on poverty pay and our social security system will continue to impose a two child cap on tax credits which is shameful”
“Now more than ever we need a radical Labour government that will truly end austerity by increasing investment in our local services and the Borderlands agreement, extend public ownership and deliver a £10 per hour real living wage”.