Scottish and Welsh Finance Secretaries urge an end to austerity

Written by Tom Freeman on 26 October 2017 in News

Devolved finance ministers highlight planned cuts to the Scottish and Welsh budgets

Derek Mackay - Scottish Parliament

Scottish Government Finance Secretary Derek Mackay and Welsh Government Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford have issued a joint call for the UK Government to halt spending cuts to public services.

The 'austerity' programme, begun by former chancellor George Osborne, has seen billions cut from government departments in an attempt to cut the UK's budget deficit.

Ahead of a meeting between the Treasury and the finance ministers of the devolved nations today, Mackay and Drakeford warned the UK Government still intends to cut a further £3.5bn from departments.

Mackay said: “The UK Government will cut £2.9 billion or 9.2 per cent from our discretionary Scottish budget in the ten years to 2019-20. And that is before taking account of the impact of the UK Government’s further planned efficiency savings of £3.5 billion in 2019-20 – which could cut another £350 million from the Scottish budget.

“While we have done what we can to mitigate the worst effects of UK Government austerity, the continued and sustained real terms reductions in our budget makes this increasingly difficult.

“The UK Government needs to abandon their obsession with austerity. The policy has failed and it is time to stimulate the economy by investing in this country’s future.”

Drakeford said: “Our draft Budget was set against the backdrop of the longest period of sustained austerity in living memory – one which has seen our budget cut by 7 per cent in real terms since 2010.   

“The UK Government’s failed and unnecessary policy of austerity continues to place unjustifiable constraints on public services in Wales. 

“After seven years of sustained austerity the evidence is clear – it is a failed policy and must be abandoned.  Public services across the UK are feeling the pinch and I urge the UK Government to change tack and invest."

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