Wed 25 Nov, 2020

By breaking his promise and cutting international aid the Chancellor has abandoned any pretence that the UK can play a positive role on the world stage in tackling global inequality. Rishi Sunak is choosing to raid the programmes which support the most vulnerable people on our planet Patrick Harvie

The Scottish Greens have slammed the UK Spending review as cruel and economically illiterate for placing the economic fallout of the pandemic on the shoulders of those who have already suffered the worst from it.

The Chancellor’s spending review focused on the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, but failed to mention those that had made an enormous amount of money from the crisis.

Despite claiming public services was a priority, the Chancellor delivered a public sector pay freeze for all apart from NHS staff and denied those on the minimum wage a meaningful rise at a time when income inequality is growing.

The decision to delay the UK budget also once again forces Scotland to set its own tax and spending plans before he does.

Responding, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “The Chancellor wants to lay the cost of the pandemic on the shoulders of those who have suffered the most from it, and to punish those who have worked on the front line getting us through it. Even the lowest earners will receive a pittance, and most will see their incomes cut in real terms. The Chancellor’s attempt to justify this by pointing to poverty pay in the private sector, while still refusing to mandate a real Living Wage, is indefensible.

“Just when we have relied on public services more than ever, the Tories want to cut them again. That is unspeakably cruel and economically illiterate, but the Tories have form on this. 

“Let’s not forget that there are some who have made a lot of money during this difficult time. Supermarkets and online shopping giants like Amazon have posted record profits. More than a billion pounds of outsourced government contracts have gone to firms run by the friends and donors of Conservative MPs in the last eight months

“What’s more, by breaking his promise and cutting international aid the Chancellor has abandoned any pretence that the UK can play a positive role on the world stage in tackling global inequality. Rishi Sunak is choosing to raid the programmes which support the most vulnerable people on our planet.  

“And to force Scotland to prepare a budget without knowing what funding package will be in place is very risky and once again undermines devolution. 

“It will be down to the Scottish Government to produce a budget which makes creative use of our devolved powers to address the ways in which the pandemic has worsened inequality. People with low and precarious incomes need more support, and this must be an urgent priority when MSPs debate Scotland’s budget."

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