Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “extremely underwhelmed” by Boris Johnson’s spending announcement and does not expect Scotland to receive any extra money as a result.
The Scottish First Minister said Mr Johnson’s announcement appeared to be “simply shuffling around money that was already in the system” and was not likely to trigger further financial consequentials.
Asked about the Prime Minister’s claims of a spending spree to help the economy cope with the “aftershock” of the coronavirus crisis, Ms Sturgeon said the investment was not enough considering “the scale of the challenge that we face”.
£5bn in economic stimulus is woefully short of the c £80bn that would put UK on a par with Germany. I also suspect there will be less to it than meets the eye in terms of genuinely new money. https://t.co/CMSGXLvy79
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) June 30, 2020
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, she said: “I hope what the Prime Minister has announced today is the start of a conversation about fiscal stimulus and not the end of that conversation.
“To put it mildly, I am extremely underwhelmed by what has been announced this morning.
“We can often judge the scale of fiscal announcements from the UK Government by what we expect them to see in consequentials to devolved administrations.
“I hope I’m wrong about what I’m about to say, but our expectation is there will be no additional consequentials from the Prime Minister’s announcement this morning for Scotland or the other devolved administrations.
“We may see a reprofiling of consequentials we were already expecting, but we are certainly not expecting any significant additional consequentials.
“That tells its own story; what that says is that this is not new money.
“This is simply shuffling around money that was already in the system and I don’t think that is commensurate with the scale of the challenge that we face.”
Ms Sturgeon suggested the money announced would amount to less than half a per cent of the UK’s GDP, compared to Germany’s commitment to spend 4% of GDP and the historic “New Deal” by Franklin D Roosevelt which was estimated to be 40% of the USA’s then-GDP.
Joining the First Minister today is Health Secretary Jeane Freeman and Scotland's Chief Nursing Officer, Fiona McQueen. https://t.co/ERKkr2MF9f
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) June 30, 2020
Responding to Mr Johnson’s announcement, STUC general secretary Rozanne Foyer said: “The most obvious conclusion from today’s investment announcements is that BJ is no FDR. His speech lacked coherence and so does his plan.
“His greatest passion seemed to be reserved for cutting red tape which is all too often code for cutting the rights of workers and reducing environmental standards. He certainly didn’t talk about good jobs and we know from this crisis that bad jobs kill.
“This goes nowhere near far enough to provide the stimulus our economy requires. We need twenty times the ambition.”
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “This is the bleakest possible vision of a recovery from coronavirus, dressed up in the language of a green new deal.
“His plan to ‘build, build, build’ includes a massive road-building programme and deeply-alarming deregulation of the housing market. Both of these could cause enormous environmental damage, as well as increasing emissions.
— Scottish Conservatives (@ScotTories) June 30, 2020
“This is yet more rhetoric on a green recovery without the action or urgency required. This is no new deal. It’s very much the old deal on stilts.”
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Jackson Carlaw said the Scottish Government should follow Mr Johnson’s “urgency” in building infrastructure projects.
Mr Carlaw said: “The Scottish Government has already been given an additional £5.4 billion, they have the money and the ability to act now.
“The Scottish Conservative economic plan is full of concrete ideas that can be implemented now – the SNP government must do the same.”