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May urged to follow in Scotland’s steps with post-Brexit funding guarantees

Prime minister Theresa May is being urged to announce an economic ‘stimulus package’ that inspires confidence post-referendum, as Scotland’s first minister injected another £100m into this year’s funding in order to motivate the economy.

Nicola Sturgeon announced that she would bring forward the money to support and stimulate the economy in the wake of the EU Referendum. The capital funding will be used to speed up delivery of health and other infrastructure projects.

The Scottish government will also be setting up the Business Information Service, a new dedicated service to provide information and support to businesses affected by the referendum – as well as a new Post-Referendum Business Network which will work with the main business bodies, the Scotland Office and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC).

“Scotland is and remains an attractive and stable place to do business – however, there is no doubt that the referendum outcome has created deep and widespread uncertainty, with the impact on jobs and investment already being felt,” Sturgeon said.

“The UK government has not yet taken any meaningful action to alleviate uncertainty or to boost confidence, and there are very real concerns that the damage to the economy and to jobs will be severe and long lasting.

“It is against this background that the Scottish government is announcing early action to boost confidence, stimulate economic activity and support business. Our Infrastructure Investment Plan is already delivering major infrastructure improvements, with projects worth almost £6bn currently under construction - we will now inject a further £100m of spending this year to accelerate planned projects.”

However, the first minister added it is important the UK government also acts.

“I am calling today for urgent action on two fronts – firstly, early assurance about EU Structural Funds and, second, a UK wide stimulus package which, through consequential funding, would enable the Scottish government to do more to accelerate capital spending,” Sturgeon continued.

Further details of the ‘Capital Acceleration Programme’ – such as the projects that will be supported through the extra cash and details of future funding – will be announced “in due course”.

Sturgeon’s move was strongly endorsed by the Scottish business and trade union community, with the Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s chief executive, Liz Cameron, calling it a “great example of the Scottish government using the devolved powers it has at its disposal to deliver a timely boost to the Scottish economy”.

“However, it must be clearly targeted to provide a shot in the arm to Scotland’s businesses and to support jobs in the short, medium and long term,” she added.

The general secretary of the STUC, Grahame Smith, said the organisation “strongly endorses” the first minister’s approach, since the country’s economy “risks falling into technical recession as a result of Brexit-induced uncertainty”.

“The first minister is also entirely justified in calling on the UK government to act swiftly to help minimise the economic consequences of their calamitous handling of the referendum and its aftermath,” Smith continued. “With borrowing costs at a historic low, now is the time to invest to support jobs in the present and increase the economy’s capacity to grow sustainably in the future.”

Sturgeon – who, along with the majority of Scotland, was firmly against the Brexit vote in the EU Referendum – also reiterated that her government would “pursue all possible options” to protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU and ensure its local voice is heard in ongoing discussions.

(Top image  c. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

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Highland Ian   11/08/2016 at 12:07

Unfortunately you are subject to the same smoke and mirrors as is Scotland, from the SNP. There is no extra money being spent. It is money that was unspent from last years budget, despite massive underfunding of education and health care in Scotland.

Lowland Man   12/08/2016 at 10:10

Highland Ian is absolutely correct. This is a typical SNP tactic - to create division where there is none; to pretend they do a better job than the UK govt; and to pretend they are on the side of the people of Scotland when in actual fact they are totally driven by a blind commitment to independence no matter the cost

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