By Ross Barclay

On Tuesday, Glasgow Central MP and SNP Treasury Spokesperson, Alison Thewliss, called on the Chancellor to either mitigate real-terms cuts to the budgets of devolved governments or give them the power to raise funds to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
Inflation has tripled since the UK Spending Review, where benefits and tax credits were set to be uprated by 3.1% in April this year – it’s now running at 9.1%. The Spending Review also predicted that inflation would peak at 4.4% in Q2 2022, which is less than half of the current rate. 
A real-terms cut to the Scottish government budget of 5.2% this year will impact Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic and put further pressure on services and public sector wages.
Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:
“The UK Tory Government continue to exacerbate the pain felt by people across the country as inflation worsens by cutting budgets to devolved governments.
“Inflation is a global problem but the Chancellor is presiding over the highest inflation rate in the G7.
“Allowing real-terms cuts to go ahead means further pressure on public sector wages and vital services for those in need.
“It comes at the worst possible time for people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
“Independent countries across the world are introducing measures to ease the burden on the public. Ireland has reduced public transport fares to help people save on ticket and petrol prices.
“These measures are funded by borrowing. Scotland does not have the ability to help in this way because of the devolved funding arrangements.
“The Scottish Government has done all it can with its fixed budget – uprating the Scottish Child Payment, making public transport free for under-22s, and expanding energy efficiency schemes to cut energy bills – but providing further support requires having control of more finance levers.
“If Rishi Sunak refuses to mitigate cuts to the Scottish Government’s budget, he should support giving the devolved parliament the borrowing powers to do so itself.”

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