Rishi Sunak has claimed the extra £640 million Budget cash destined for Scotland illustrates the benefits of being in the United Kingdom.
The Chancellor claimed the windfall would strengthen the Union as UK Government sources said Scottish ministers would receive a total of £2 billion added to its block grant in the next financial year – the biggest rise for a decade.
The £2bn figure is arrived at by adding the £640m announced by Mr Sunak to £1.3bn allocated for Scotland in last year’s spending review.
Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes welcomed the cash, but said it was in line with expectations and was still less than the amount received in 2010/11 when it came to real terms day-to-day spending.
The money comes to Scotland through the “Barnett consequentials” which arise as a result of the mechanism which determines how much Treasury cash Scotland receives.
Under the Barnett Formula, Scotland receives a share of cash earmarked for areas like health and education, which are the responsibility of Holyrood in Scotland but under Westminster control south of the border.
Mr Sunak said: “This is a Budget that will deliver for the Scottish people, with £640 million in extra funding for the Scottish Government.
“Our United Kingdom is the most successful political and economic union in history, and through this Budget we will further strengthen the ties that bind us and kickstart a decade of investment in all our communities.”
Mr Sunak’s budget document reveals the UK Government will press ahead with the devolution of welfare powers, including transferring £3bn of disability benefits to Edinburgh next month.
The transfer will go ahead despite the Scottish Government last year admitting that full control over 11 social security benefits would be maintained by the UK Government until 2024.
The UK Department for Work and Pensions will administer those Scottish benefits until the new agency Social Security Scotland has the capability to distribute them. The Scottish Government, however, will be responsible for the delivery of all Scottish benefits, including those still under DWP control, from April.
The Budget also included a pledge to increase 4G mobile coverage to nearly three-quarters of Scotland.
£25 million for Argyll and Bute confirmed
And there was confirmation of £25 million for an Argyll and Bute Growth Deal.
Scottish Secretary Alistair Jack said: “We will continue our extensive investment in growth deals across Scotland, now at almost £1.5 billion, with confirmation of £25 million UK Government funding for Argyll and Bute. Every part of Scotland will be covered by growth deals, with investment to be announced soon for Falkirk and the Scottish islands.”
The document made no mention for the recently announced proposal for a tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has yet to sign off on that project and a feasibility study has yet to be done.
Ms Forbes said: “The Barnett consequentials announced today are in line with the assumptions that underpinned the Scottish Budget and Budget Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament last week. While this funding is welcome, our resource budget is still lower in real terms than it was in 2010/11.”