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Treasury Spending: Grants to Devolved Institutions

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:06 pm on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative, Moray 6:06 pm, 3rd July 2018

I am shocked—shocked that a debate entitled, “Spending decisions of HM Treasury and their consequences for grants to the devolved institutions” could muster just one Scottish National party speaker. Kirsty Blackman and the SNP Chief Whip sitting in the corner, out of a parliamentary group of 35 MPs, is all they can muster. Jonathan Edwards has just rightly said that this is a debate about bread and butter issues that he is happy to be debating, yet other nationalists in this place seem to be happy to be absent.

I will be looking very closely tomorrow at the SNP Opposition day debate on the claim of right for Scotland: yet another argument in this place about constitutional matters. Will the SNP Benches be so sparsely populated for a debate on the claim of right for Scotland as they are tonight about the money we spend in Scotland and the public services we get? I think my constituents and people across Scotland will wonder why they send SNP representatives down to Westminster if they cannot even turn up to a debate about spending in the devolved Administrations?

This is an important debate that affects all our constituencies across Scotland and Wales. It is about the money we put forward in Westminster to be spent in the devolved Administrations. I want to pick up on points made by my hon. Friend Kirstene Hair. My NHS area is suffering at the moment. NHS Grampian is one of the poorest funded health boards anywhere in Scotland. I continually receive complaints about local healthcare and waiting lists. In fact, I wrote to the acting chief executive today about someone who has to wait up to two years for an ear, nose and throat check for nosebleeds that stop her leaving her home, because she is so worried about having another severe nosebleed. When she went to the NHS in Scotland, they said, “You can go privately and get it done within a week or two.” But NHS Scotland, overseen by the SNP for the past 11 years, says she has to wait up to two years. That is not acceptable to my constituent or to anyone else.

I note that the two SNP Members in the Chamber are not intervening to say that that is wrong. They know that after 11 years, under a First Minister who was previously Health Secretary, another Health Secretary who was her friend, and now a new Health Secretary, health in Scotland is suffering because the SNP is performing poorly in this area despite significant investment by the UK Government. We have already heard that £2 billion extra has been invested in Scotland as a result of last year’s Budget. By 2020, the block grant will have grown to over £31.1 billion: £31.1 billion is going to the SNP Government in Scotland and the way they are spending it is letting us down.