Scottish Ministers must use UK Budget cash to invest in social infrastructure

Patrick Harvie MSP, Finance & Economy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (8 March) hit out at the UK Government Budget, while also urging Scottish Ministers to use capital funds wisely.

On the increase in National Insurance contributions for self-employed workers, Patrick said:

"With this increase, the UK Government must recognise that self-employed workers do not enjoy equal working conditions, such as parental leave and sick leave. They must urgently set out how the increasing number of self-employed workers in our economy can be given these same protections."

Patrick added:

"The Chancellor talks of job security and the dignity of work, yet after years of Tory cuts we’ve got an economy in which many people are forced into insecure, low-paid work, while big business gets tax breaks to boost its profits. 

"By describing maximum exploitation of North Sea oil as ‘essential’, the Chancellor confirms the Tories’ Trump-style denial of climate change reality. Even the Governor of the Bank of the England recognises that continuing to place value on an unburnable resource puts our economy at massive risk.

"We should be investing in decommissioning, renewables and the low-carbon infrastructure that creates lasting, high quality jobs rather than pouring money into the bottomless pit that is nuclear."

Patrick concluded:

"The £350million in capital funds coming to the Scottish Government is a drop in the ocean after years of cuts, but it’s vital that Scottish Ministers use this cash to invest in the kind of physical and social infrastructure we really need. We could go further than the Living Wage for social care staff to recognise their vital role; we could invest in energy efficient housing to cut fuel poverty; and we could create local energy companies to harness the benefits of renewables for the public."