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The extra £1,500 per person in public spending this year is due to the UK Government’s record Barnett consequential spending. Analysis of the spending by the Scottish Conservatives and Express.co.uk shows £8.2 billion will be added to the Scottish budget in response to tackling COVID-19, protecting jobs and supporting local firms.
This spending, the Scottish Tories say, also contributed to health and social care help in Scotland, including public health initiatives and welfare support.
The latest figures show that Scotland’s population in June 2019 was 5,463,300.
When divided by £8.2billion in guaranteed Barnett consequential, it shows the UK Government is providing £1,501 for every man, woman and child in Scotland to tackle COVID-19 this year.
It comes as Nicola Sturgeon preached her desire for a second independence referendum in Holyrood this week based on the fact the UK could be heading for a no-deal Brexit as trade talks come down to the wire.
Speaking during FMQs last week, she said: “The only reason, right now, we are faced with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit in Scotland is because we are not independent and it has been foisted upon us against our will.
“Independence is not the same as Brexit, independence would see Scotland joining other independent countries in the European Union, working together where we need to – including on matters like COVID and charting our own future.”
At the same time, the Treasury has announced a further £800 million in coronavirus funding to be shared among the devolved administrations.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay said this week the funding would be split into £400 million for the Scottish Government, £200 million for the Welsh Government and £200 million for the Northern Ireland Executive.
Dean Lockhart MSP, Scottish Conservative Constitution spokesperson, said: “The UK Government has given unprecedented support for people and local firms during the coronavirus outbreak, showing how vital Scotland’s place within the United Kingdom is for our public services.
“Even before this crisis, the UK government had delivered the highest ever Scottish Budget and since then, an extra £1,500 has been spent per person to help fight this pandemic.
“In contrast, the SNP have failed to protect Scottish jobs in the face of the Covid pandemic.
“They’ve left far too many local firms to fend for themselves.”
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More than 79,000 businesses in Scotland have also benefited from UK Government loan schemes, worth more than £2.9billion and 930,000 jobs have been supported under the Furlough scheme.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said the figures highlight the importance of Scotland being part of the UK.
She told Express.co.uk: “This support for Scotland’s fight against COVID-19 comes from being part of the UK.
“The broad shoulders of the UK are helping every nation and region during these difficult times.
“But it will take years for the economy and public services to recover, which is why all governments must prioritise rebuilding our country together and the SNP should drop its obsession with a divisive second independence referendum.”
Scottish Secretary Alistair Jack, added: “The UK Government is committed to supporting people in all parts of the UK during this difficult time which is why today we have given £400 million extra to the Scottish Government for their COVID-19 response.
“This is on top of direct UK Government COVID-19 support to people and businesses in Scotland, including the furlough and self-employment schemes, business loans, VAT cuts for the hardest-hit sectors and investing billions in our Plan for Jobs and our welfare safety net.”
In response, Alison Thewliss MP, the SNP’s Shadow Chancellor told Express.co.uk: “The Tories are insulting the intelligence of taxpayers across Scotland, who funded these measures through our taxes and public borrowing.
“Instead of shamelessly claiming credit at our expense, the Tories should answer for the millions of people they have left behind, including public sector workers hit with a Tory pay freeze, the three million excluded who have been left without any support, and the soaring number of unemployed people, as UK redundancies hit record levels.”
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