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Treasury Spending: Grants to Devolved Institutions

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:33 pm on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy), SNP Deputy Leader 5:33 pm, 3rd July 2018

I will not give way, because I want to make some progress.

That money cannot be spent on day-to-day services such as our NHS.

On the NHS, our Scottish Government have invested an additional £550 million in health and social care. We have increased the health and sport budget by 9.6% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2018-19. In addition, our NHS Scotland staff will be offered a 9% pay rise over the next three years. That is the highest NHS pay uplift offered in the UK, and I am pleased that we can recognise our NHS workers in this way, particularly in the 70th year of the NHS.

At Treasury questions this morning, the Chancellor confirmed that Scotland’s share of the NHS uplift will be £2.27 billion in 2023-24, but the Treasury has not yet confirmed how this uplift will be paid for. Will it require devolved tax hikes, or will there be a cut to Barnett consequentials coming from elsewhere to fund this additional revenue? The people of Scotland need clarity, and it would be most welcome if the Treasury provided that clarity at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Scottish Government are investing more than £3 billion during this Parliament to deliver 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent—an area that had sadly been neglected by the UK Government. Although it is important that there is enough supply so that people can buy homes, it is also important that those who cannot afford to buy homes have secure rents at levels that they can afford.

In my maiden speech, I said that the Scottish Government’s scrapping of the right to buy was one of the most monumental moves that has been made. I was a local councillor for eight years before I did this job, and a phenomenal number of people were waiting for council housing at that time because of the amount of housing stock that had been sold off. The number of people waiting has now reduced in my constituency and in Aberdeen in general, but this has only happened because Aberdeen City Council is now able to invest in building homes without the fear that they will be sold off immediately.