Swinney furious at unexpected budget cuts

5 Jun 15

Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney has struck out furiously at the chancellor’s “unexpected and unwarranted” £3bn in further cuts, complaining that Scottish Ministers were not afforded the courtesy of being consulted about the consequent £176.8m reduction in the Scottish Budget.

Swinney, who is due to meet George Osborne in London on Monday for routine talks ahead of the post-election Budget on 8 July, said: “The Scottish Parliament has already agreed our Budget for this year and that should be respected, not slashed as part of George Osborne and David Cameron's ideological obsession with austerity.”

He argued that last month’s general election had demonstrated a clear rejection of the austerity strategy by Scottish voters, yet “Scotland has already seen our overall budget cut by 9% and our capital budget cut by 25% since 2010”.

So-called Barnett consequentials – adjustments to Scotland’s block grant arising as a result of changes in departmental allocations south of the border – translate Thursday’s Osborne package into £176.8m of reductions that Swinney must now find in what were thought to be settled Scottish spending plans.

He said: “There has been no prior discussion with the Scottish Government about these plans – and all parties in the Scottish Parliament should now make clear that these cuts are unacceptable.”

  • Keith Aitken
    Keith Aitken

    covers Scottish affairs for Public Finance from Edinburgh. He was formerly economics editor and chief leader writer on The Scotsman and now has a busy freelance career as a writer, broadcaster and event chair.

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