Mr Swinney (pictured above) has written to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement on December 5. The letter highlights the Scottish Government’s rejection of Westminster’s approach to the economy and public finances and sets out a number of priorities that the Scottish Government believe should be addressed in the Autumn Statement.
• Provide additional capital investment to support sustainable and broad-based economic recovery and make the country as a whole more internationally competitive.
• Invest in energy infrastructure to help deliver renewable generation across Scotland and the UK, arguing that the UK Government’s current proposals are putting the creation of a strong, domestic renewables sector and supply chain at risk, and could undermine Scotland’s security of supply.
• Make access to finance easier for SMEs across Scotland. In particular it is important that UK wide schemes – such as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee and Funding for Lending Scheme are readily accessible to Scottish businesses.
• Reconsider the UK Government’s decision not to pass on the full external convergence uplift to the Common Agricultural Policy budget to Scotland’s agricultural sector, despite the fact that this allocation is a result of Scotland having one of the lowest per hectare payment rates in the EU.
• Make sure the negative impacts of welfare reform are not exacerbated by further announcements made in the Autumn Statement. The Scottish Government has consistently highlighted its view that many of the changes being introduced as a result of the UK Government’s programme of welfare reform are set to impact on some of the most vulnerable in society, and will have a wide range of implications for the organisations helping those affected.