UK Government accused of "smoke and mirrors" over funding

The Conservatives have been accused of short-changing Angus by £6,144,859 due to “smoke and mirrors” over support for those struggling with the cost of living, equating to £112.79 per household.

Mark Dowie
Friday, 11th March 2022, 12:00pm

Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed he would be providing Scotland with an additional £290m to help with the cost of household council tax bills.

At the time, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said "every penny" of the £290m would go towards helping ease the cost of living crisis.

Scotland's finance secretary, Kate Forbes, also said that the additional £120m allocated to councils by the Scottish Government in order to avoid council tax rises would be paid for by the additional money.

However, Ms Forbes has now revealed that there is no additional money to help low-income families pay their council tax.

In a letter to Holyrood’s finance committee, Ms. Forbes said that the Scottish Government was expecting to receive £852m from the Treasury but will instead receive £814m.

This means the Scottish Government will have to find funds from elsewhere in its budget to help people in Angus pay their council tax bills.

Angus South SNP MSP Graeme Dey said: “It is scandalous they have tried to pull the wool over the eyes of people in Angus by claiming they would be providing extra cash to deal with the cost of living crisis, but instead are short-changing Angus by £6,144,859 and households by £112.79 each.

"Rishi Sunak made a huge fanfare about how Westminster was being generous to Scotland when the truth is that they have provided nothing extra at all.

"And again, the Scottish Government has to make good on another broken Tory promise by finding funds from its limited budget to help out hard-pressed families by cutting £150 off their council tax bills.

“This is real cash to deal with the cost of living crisis, not Tory smoke and mirrors.

"This trend is all too familiar to people in Scotland – when it comes to the Tories, all we get is cuts, not cash.

“This once again demonstrates that it is only with the full powers that independence would bring that we can provide support for those on the lowest incomes instead of having one hand tied behind our backs by relentless Tory cuts.”

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