SNP Finance Secretary Kate Forbes should apologise for trying to mislead voters about the coronavirus financial support package for Scotland.
Ms Forbes posted on Twitter that of the £30 billion announced by the UK Chancellor to support the economy, ‘the Scottish Government will receive only £21 million’.
However, expert analysis from the Fraser of Allander Institute shows that this is far from the full picture.
The £21 million refers only to the SNP Government’s budget for specific measures to support the economy in Scotland such as apprenticeship funds.
But Scotland’s overall budget will actually increase by a further £800 million through the Barnett formula, thanks largely to increased spending on the NHS – with previously announced measures taking the overall total to £4.6 billion.
On top of that, most of the measures announced by the Chancellor this week are UK-wide, such as the Job Retention bonus to support jobs and a VAT cut to help the economy. These will operate in Scotland as part of UK spending.
As a result, Scotland’s economic share of such measures could actually account to £1 billion.
The Fraser of Allander Institute states: “These are all schemes that will operate in Scotland but are UK Government budget lines. ‘Scotland’s economic share’ of such measures could amount to around £1 billion.”
The body adds: “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.”
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:
“Kate Forbes is deliberately trying to mislead Scots and she should apologise.
“The reality is that Scotland’s economic share of the measures announced this week could be as high as £1 billion.
“Nationalists need to stop conflating their party with the country.
“As part of the UK we are benefitting from unprecedented UK spending in Scotland which is supporting hundreds of thousands of Scottish jobs.
“Rather than trying to stoke division, the SNP should focus relentlessly on economic recovery and our cherished NHS.”