Covid-19 Recovery (Spending Decisions)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 1st September 2021.

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Photo of Siobhian Brown Siobhian Brown Scottish National Party

8. To ask the Scottish Government what assurances it has had from the United Kingdom Government that decisions on spending on the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic will be taken in Scotland. (S6O-00072)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

The United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 has undermined any assurance around decisions on Covid recovery spending in devolved areas being taken in Scotland. The act’s spending powers cover a wide range of areas, including some that relate to Covid recovery. Any such spending could bring the prospect of unco-ordinated spending and policy incoherence, which could hinder, rather than support, Covid recovery. The way that the UK Government has used the powers so far offers little assurance—rather, it has been the opposite.

Photo of Siobhian Brown Siobhian Brown Scottish National Party

Does the cabinet secretary agree that it is crucial that no more devolved powers are stripped from the Scottish Parliament and that decisions on Covid recovery spending in Scotland should be placed firmly in the hands of the Scottish Parliament?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

I agree with that point. The Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament have made it crystal clear that the UK Government’s 2020 act is unwelcome legislation that undermines the Scottish Parliament’s powers. It is crucial that the Scottish Parliament’s powers are respected. Those powers were supported by people in a referendum in 1997 and they have subsequently been enhanced by various legislative instruments that have been passed. Our decision-making structures should not be undermined or eroded by the UK Government.