Ruth Maguire MSP has echoed a the Scottish Government’s call for Westminster to introduce vital new measures to support Scotland’s response to the current economic crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following a formal request to the UK Treasury requesting temporary additional financial powers for Holyrood to tackle the crisis in Scotland, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has once again written to the Chancellor ahead of the Economic Update on 8 July.
She has requested that a National Debt Plan be introduced by the UK Government to help households experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic cope with loan, mortgage and rent payments.
Additional measures that have been asked for include a reduction in the standard rate of VAT and a jobs guarantee for young people to ensure that they have access to work, apprenticeships or training.
The SNP MSP said: “The measures proposed by the Finance Secretary are appropriate and constructive. We must avoid a return to austerity and apply flexible rules to allow households and businesses to recover from the economic downturn this virus has caused.
“Further to this, I agree with the Finance Secretary’s earlier call for additional funding for the Scottish Government. The challenge faced by the devolved administrations of the UK are compelling grounds to temporarily grant additional financial powers.
“Providing some additional flexibility to the Financial Framework will relieve the already massive pressures faced by the Scottish Government in having to reprioritise resources to respond to the public health crisis we are currently facing.”
“As we begin to emerge from lockdown and assess what action is necessary to stimulate the economy and protect peoples jobs, it is impossible to ignore the constraints of our current constitutional arrangement. I know that many people will be questioning how satisfactory it is that our Scottish Government does not have the full powers of an independent nation. The conversation on whether decisions about should be made by Scotland, is for many becoming more urgent by the day.”
Letters sent to the UK Treasury:
24th June – https://news.gov.scot/resources/letter-from-the-cabinet-secretary-for-finance
4th July – https://news.gov.scot/resources/letter-from-cabinet-secretary-for-finance-040720