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Treasury Spending: Grants to Devolved Institutions

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:12 pm on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Luke Graham Luke Graham Conservative, Ochil and South Perthshire 6:12 pm, 3rd July 2018

In her opening speech, Kirsty Blackman made a number of assertions about spending in Scotland, and I want to refute a few of those. By 2020—these are facts available from the House of Commons Library, as she quoted—the block grant will have grown to over £31.1 billion, which is a real-terms increase over the spending review period. In the 2018-19 financial year, the devolved Administration’s budget will increase by £500 million. Capital will increase by £566 million—£273 million of which is financial transactions, which I will come back to—and there will have been an overall increase of 17% since 2015-16.

The hon. Lady talked about financial transactions. She said that they were not real money and that they could not be spent on real things. That is interesting, because we took a look at the latest draft budget for 2018-19 and the SNP is planning to use £489 million of financial transactions. The funding includes the following: £40 million for the higher education budget, including innovation, low carbon and energy; £68.5 million for Scottish Enterprise; £26.5 million for the energy budget; and most importantly and specifically, since she talked about housing, £221.3 million for housing programmes, including the Help to Buy scheme and the open market shared equity scheme. If she was being truthful and saying that this money is not real and has to go back, has she told everyone back home?

The hon. Lady also talked about farmers. My constituency being predominantly a rural constituency, I speak to farmers every week, and I can say that under the SNP they have not received the support they need. The IT system does not work, they have not had the right rural funding and, to top it off, they now face record levels of farmers debt. That is the legacy of the SNP Administration in Scotland.