Holyrood urges UK to stimulate economy

Keith Brown

The Scottish Government has called on the UK Government to stimulate economic growth following the UK vote to leave the EU.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy Keith Brown called on the UK Treasury to “follow the Scottish example” and bring forward a stimulus package based on increased capital spending.

He said an increase in UK infrastructure spending of £5 billion could provide an additional £400 million spend in Scotland, supporting around 3,000 jobs.

Brown was speaking ahead of a Holyrood debate to consider the £100 million capital stimulus package already put in place by the Scottish Government.

Brown said the Treasury could also encourage growth by providing further support for exporting companies as the depreciation of sterling provided an opportunity for companies to either move into new export markets or start exporting for the first time.

Brown said: “The UK Government’s continued austerity means we are already facing a 10% real terms cuts to our budget over 10 years to 2020 and now the UK wide vote for Brexit threatens to make those cuts even harder.

“The Fraser of Allander report, out last week, shows that Brexit has put Scotland’s economy and our public services at further risk of cuts from Westminster.

“In contrast, the Scottish Government has acted swiftly to support the economy following the UK wide vote to leave the EU by bringing forward an additional £100 million of capital investment, setting out plans for a £500 million Scottish Growth Scheme to support businesses and working hard to secure Scotland’s continued place in the EU …

“But we haven’t seen the same action forthcoming at a UK level – where clarity on Brexit remains completely absent.

“However, there are actions the Treasury could take as a matter of urgency to help our businesses.

“Primary among them is increased capital spending, that would allow us to build on our own stimulus package, protecting and creating jobs.

“Further support exports at a UK level, would also help us add to what we are already doing in this area in Scotland and nurture increased growth.

“I am calling for the Treasury to take this action as a clear plan for how the UK Government can help at this critical juncture for our economy.

“Last week’s employment figures show our unemployment rate is now lower than the UK as a whole. But a failure to act at a UK level could put that really encouraging progress in jeopardy.

“Our priority will continue to be protecting our economy, while also working to preserve our EU membership and access to the single market.

“I hope the UK Government will act to support our efforts – in the Autumn Statement as a minimum, but ideally in shorter order than that.”