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Is Scotland really only receiving £21m from the UK Government to deal with the Coronavirus Crisis? 

The SNP's Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, posted on Twitter that of the £30 billion support package announced by the UK Chancellor, the Scottish Government will only receive £21 million.  Is that really all the support that Scotland will receive?

The Claim:

    The facts

  • This week the UK Government announced £800 million of additional funding for the Scottish Budget.  The details of this have yet to be released, but does include £97m for arts and cultural venues, additional funding for the NHS and for PPE for frontline workers.

  • This is in addition to £3.8 billion of extra Barnett consequential funding for Scotland already announced by the UK Government, taking the total to £4.6bn so far.

  • This does not include other support that has been given across the UK, including almost £5bn spent in Scotland on the Job Retention Scheme (furloughing).  You can find more about this in our earlier update here.

    

  • This most recent announcement of £30 billion to be spent across the UK on the "Jobs Plan" will see expenditure on areas of policy reserved to the UK Government, i.e. the vast majority of what will be spent from this in Scotland will come direct from the UK Government to businesses and workers in need of support. 

  • £21 million of this money will go to the Scottish Government to spend on affected areas of economic policy for which they have direct responsibility for (including apprenticeships).

What the experts say

 

UK Government, "Summer Statement delivers plan for jobs in Scotland" Press Release, 8th July 2020

The Summer Economic Update confirms an additional £800 million of Covid-19 funding for the Scottish Government through the Barnett formula.

The UK Government is now providing £4.6 billion through the Barnett formula to help the Scottish Government support individuals, businesses and public services through Covid-19."

Fraser of Allander Institute, Scottish Budget Update, 9th July 2020

“As usual, politicians are ‘technically’ correct in the lines that they have used. But the failure to provide clarity and the overall picture leads to confusion."

 Institute for Fiscal Studies associate director David Phillips, reported on HeraldScotland.com, 9th July 2020

 “Firstly, it’s not clear to me where she has got that number from because looking at the announcements made, a number of them are England-only which would lead to Barnett consequentials.

“The policies for careers advice, traineeships, school and college leavers, for example, are England-only and Barnett consequentials for those alone look like they would be significantly more than £21m.

“The green homes grant is £2bn, and that’s England-only, which would give Scotland about £200m. Stamp duty is England and Northern Ireland, so the funds going to Scotland for that are probably worth about £100m-ish…

“The £21m must be from a very narrow definition of things that were announced yesterday that hadn’t been announced or trailed before the speech, as I can’t see where that figure has come from.”

Scotland in Union Fact Check Conclusion:

Kate Forbes MSP tweet was misleading

 

While Kate Forbes MSP was technically correct to state that £21m of the £30bn announced was going to the Scottish Government for devolved economic measures, this does not tell the whole story. It must be remembered that this is not the only additional funding being given to the Scottish Government (a considerably larger sum of £4.6bn) and is a tiny fraction of the whole level of support that Scotland is receiving to cope with the coronavirus crisis (in excess of £10bn).

 

As part of the UK, we have had a safety net to support us and our economy during this crisis, as people across the UK have benefited from.  We are better off in the UK.

Is Scotland really only receiving £21m from the UK Government to deal with the Coronavirus Crisis?  

No. SNP Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP was technically correct to say that the Scottish Government is to receive £21m for economic measures from the most recent funding announcement, but it must be remembered that this is a tiny fraction of what the Scottish Government is receiving overall (£4.6bn), and the entire support Scotland is receiving (in excess of £10bn). 

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