Scottish Government Draft Spending and Tax Plans 2019-20

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 12th December 2018.

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Photo of Derek Mackay Derek Mackay Scottish National Party

I am sorry—I do not think that I caught all of that question because of the laughter at the mention of Labour’s industrial and economic position. It has asked for an industrial strategy before. I do not think that we need one. We need—and are delivering—industrial actions, such as more investment and more interventions where they are right and proper, and we are supporting the industry of Scotland. Yet again, we hear from the Labour Party empty rhetoric and words that are totally meaningless.

The investments that we are making are clearly making a difference. We have foreign direct investment that is second only to that in London and the south-east of England, we have rising exports and our GDP is outperforming that of the rest of the UK. Unemployment is at a record low level and lower than the rest of the United Kingdom, and our economic efforts include investment in infrastructure of some 50—I was going to do a Labour thing for a moment there and just totally make up a number, but I will not do that. The actual investment in infrastructure under this Government is £5 billion.

That is real money: real cash and real investment in the infrastructure of our country. We will have a more competitive rates regime that leads to more jobs and to economic growth and stimulus. We are developing the national manufacturing institute for Scotland and building the Scottish national investment bank. There is finance forthcoming and precursor investment, the legislation will be working its way through Parliament next year, and the bank will be operational if this Parliament approves that legislation. However, even before the bank is established, we are investing now through the building Scotland fund to support our economy, so across that range of measures we will be stimulating the economy, leading to more purposeful and meaningful jobs while delivering inclusive growth and fair work at the same time.