The Scottish Economy

Oral Answers to Questions — Treasury – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th February 2018.

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Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine 12:00 am, 27th February 2018

What recent assessment he has made of the effect of Government investment on the Scottish economy.

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

The Government are committed to driving up investment in Scotland; my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced an additional £2 billion at the last Budget. We have already boosted city deals by £1 billion and have committed further to looking at city deals in Stirling, Tay Cities and the borderlands.

Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

I am sure that my right hon. Friend will share my concern, and that of my constituents, at recent statistics showing that trend-based productivity in Scotland had declined by 3.2% in the year end to September 2017—well below the levels of the UK and its lowest level in eight years. Does he agree that instead of making Scotland the highest-tax part of the UK and increasing the tax burden on businesses, the Scottish Government should be encouraged to follow this Government’s lead—encouraging enterprise, boosting economic development and growing UK productivity to its highest levels in 10 years?

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise the critical issue of productivity, which is, of course, the responsibility of not just this Government but the Scottish Government. I totally agree with him about the tax matter that he raised. It is important that we keep taxes down. To the extent that that has been achieved in Scotland, it has been to a large degree because of the changes we have made to the personal allowance—a decision taken by this Government in this House.