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The report that the cabinet secretary mentioned in his second sentence is disgraceful, partisan and, above all, incomplete. It is an abuse of the office of the chief economic adviser. The director of finance had to come to committee to clarify statements that she made. Will the cabinet secretary instruct the chief economic adviser to attend committee likewise? The report is deliberately misleading, and I am saddened by its production.
Contrast that with the balanced report of SPICe, which describes Salmond's Scotland in terms of the information that the Government gives out to the public and to parliamentarians.
Recently, the First Minister famously said:
"most of Europe's Finance Ministers would give at least one limb" to have an economy like Ireland's. Which limb is the cabinet secretary prepared to give up for an economy like Ireland's, which, we hear today, has contracted by a massive 7.1 per cent? Ireland has had three budgets over the past year. Is it not a safer bet to welcome the budget statement from the chancellor, which gave us added support for children and families, for pensioners, for young people seeking work and training, and for first-time home buyers?
Will the cabinet secretary state for the record that, on top of the £943 million that he had in addition in the 2010-11 budget, he now has another £76 million at his disposal?