In response to today’s (Wednesday 22 November 2017) Budget announcement by the Chancellor Philip Hammond, John Downie, Director of Public Affairs at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) said:

“Predictably, The Chancellor’s budget statement today did nothing to set the heather ablaze – which is disappointing given the huge challenges the UK faces as a result of almost a decade of austerity and the looming spectre of Brexit.

“For Scotland, specifically, there was little to sing about. The Chancellor’s vaunted extra £2 billion for the block grant is already facing scrutiny and it looks like Scotland’s budget will fall in real terms.

“Some effort to rectify the problems with the roll-out of Universal Credit is certainly welcome progress, but in our view it would have been wiser to pause the roll-out altogether.

“Disappointingly, the Chancellor ducked the opportunity to lift the freeze on public sector pay and, while welcome, the increase in the National Living Wage is still short of the Scottish Living Wage and will not affect anyone aged under 25.

“Despite his unwavering reluctance to boost public spending and invest in people and infrastructure, the Chancellor was able to commit himself to a minimum of £3 billion to simply make preparations to deal with the fallout of a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit withdrawal.

“With people across Scotland facing real hardship, the economy on snooze-mode and the full impact of Brexit yet to be felt, the Chancellor should have gone much further to make the UK and Scotland fairer, more resilient and prosperous places to live.”