The UK government said late on Thursday that the Scottish Government will receive a minimum of £1.9 billion in additional funding this year on top of £4.6 billion confirmed since March to help provide support following the coronavirus pandemic.
“The unprecedented upfront guarantee – which will take the total amount of coronavirus funding guaranteed to the Scottish Government to a minimum of £6.5 billion for 2020/21 on top of their Spring Budget funding – will give the devolved administration the certainty and financial flexibility to plan for the months ahead,” said the UK Treasury in a statement.
“Any changes to the devolved administrations funding are normally confirmed at the end of the financial year, but today’s guarantee means they have the certainty to spend this funding now, on priorities such as the NHS and additional business support.”
Chief Secretary to the UK Treasury Steve Barclay MP said: “At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we said we would do everything we could to support the whole of the UK – whether that’s saving jobs or ensuring our vital NHS has the equipment it needs. And that is exactly what we have done.
“Today we go one step further by giving the Scottish Government the certainty they need to plan their own support schemes over the next few months.
“This is yet another sign of our support for the Union and commitment to securing an economic recovery for the whole of the United Kingdom.”
The Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes replied to the extra funding with a tweet, writing: “This funding package from UKG is v welcome.
“We’ll use every penny to combat the impact of Covid-19.
“Of course, UKG has the borrowing powers required to fund the response to this crisis – powers SG is still deprived of but urgently need.
“We need agreement on fiscal flexibilities.”