Members will be aware that this is the lowest settlement for Scotland since devolution and that the real-terms increase amounts to an average of 1.4 per cent compared with slightly more than 2 per cent for the United Kingdom. Indeed, next year our allocation increases by 0.5 per cent.
We will publish our own budget and spending review next month. Members can be assured that we will deliver on the aspirations of the people of Scotland even in these tough financial times.
Further to the massive let-down that was Scotland's settlement as part of the comprehensive spending review, will the First Minister comment on the reports of earlier in the week that the Scottish block is losing out on an additional £100 million as the result of a deal that the previous Administration made on council tax and housing benefit?
Yes, I will. Confirmation of that decision was in the Secretary of State for Scotland's letter about the comprehensive spending review. Members should be aware of the previous Administration's appalling surrender when a mechanism that had been in place since devolution, and that would have benefited Scotland to the tune of £100 million per year, was surrendered in 2005. I have read some comments in the press that suggest that that is not correct, or that it might be an exaggeration, so I undertake to put the full information about our predecessors' surrender into the Scottish Parliament information centre so that every member of the Parliament can read it. I see that Andy Kerr is nodding; that is another fine mess he got the Parliament into.
The First Minister and his Government have made much of their inability to announce the detail of the funds that they will make available until after the comprehensive spending review, and that inability even extends to vital local services such as those delivered by the community regeneration fund. Is the First Minister aware that his ministers have remained silent when asked whether they will give at least in-principle support to that vital fund? Will he commit his Government today to the continuation of the community regeneration fund?
We have set out our position on the comprehensive spending review and I remind the member that our budget will be published on 14 November.
We are exceptionally sympathetic to many worthy causes and funds in Scotland. I hope that when Labour members ask for support for causes and funds they will remember the figure of 0.5 per cent in real terms, which is the Scottish spending increase for next year that the Labour Government in London considers appropriate.