Scotland has received ‘record’ settlement, Alister Jack tells SNP in Commons

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has spoken of Scotland’s “record” settlement amid SNP arguments that the Scottish block grant was “cut”.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross branded Nicola Sturgeon a “fibbing” First Minister in the Commons.

Mr Ross said: “Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon wrote in the Financial Times that the Scottish Government’s budget this year, and I quote, ‘has not received a single additional penny from the UK Government’.

“The Secretary of State will know that is completely false and is another example of this fibbing First Minister who’s recently been forced to correct the official record in the Sottish Parliament for false claims made there.”

Raising the issue during Scotland questions, SNP MP Patricia Gibson (North Ayrshire and Arran) said: “According to the House of Commons library, the Scottish block grant was cut by 4.1% this financial year and is set to be cut by a further 6% in the next financial year – a two-year real-terms cut of nearly £5 billion.

“The UK Government repeatedly claims to be increasing the funding for Scotland but this is clearly not true.”

Mr Jack said: “The £41 billion settlement over three years was a record of figure since devolution began.”

He added: “I am standing up for Scotland. But I do recognise the Scottish Government have got tough choices to make. Inflation is affecting the whole world and the Scottish Government will have to make responsible choices, and I don’t believe it’s responsible just to cut their public services by £1.25 billion.”

Shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray urged the Government to apologise for the “Tory premium on everyone’s mortgages”.

He said: “It’s not just about the last 12 weeks, but the decisions of the last 12 years. A few weeks ago a constituent came to my surgery in tears, their 1.79% five-year fixed-rate mortgage was expiring and their re-mortgage rate was nearly 6%.

“This familiar story means going from a stable income and affordable bills to the crushing anxiety of being unable to pay for the roof over the heads of their family.

“This was totally avoidable, but this Government and secretary of state chose to ignore the experts, ignore their own officials and independent bodies like the Office for Budget Responsibility.

“The result, a Tory premium on everyone’s mortgages, so does the secretary of state think that he and his new Prime Minister should stop refusing to say sorry and give the public an apology – the very least that they deserve.”

Mr Jack replied: “I do understand how concerned people are about their mortgages and, obviously, a number of factors are influencing interest rates, but all I would say to him is that we are doing all we can to limit those factors and to support the people who need it most at this difficult time.”

SNP Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) called on the Government to “stop denying democracy”.

She said: “Scotland’s block grant is being cut, our services are being eroded by Tory cuts, the economy is being undermined by Brexit and, as part of the UK, Scotland is facing the deepest recession in Europe and this Government’s response is more austerity, despite Scotland rejecting that premise for over 50 years.

“So will the minister and the rest of his disaster capitalist Tories get out of Scotland’s way and stop denying democracy and allow Scotland to choose its own path out of this nightmare?”

Mr Jack replied: “Well as (she) knows, the party that is denying democracy is the one that doesn’t accept the result of the referendum in 2014.”

Ms Black responded: “I wouldn’t be here if we didn’t accept the outcome and I don’t need any lectures on democracy from a soon to be unelected baron.”