New figures show that the SNP Scottish Government has spent £11.8 million in East Dunbartonshire to mitigate vindictive Tory UK Government policies this financial year. The news has been condemned by local SNP MSP Rona Mackay, stating the mitigations are “exasperating the cost of living crisis”. Across Scotland as a whole, the range of Scottish Government spending commitments to counter negligent Westminster policies is now an astronomical £594 million a year. The figures also do not include the £290m announcement by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes last week to give hard-pressed households £150 each.
Commenting, SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: “To protect the people of Strathkelvin and Bearsden, the SNP Government is having to commit an estimated £11.8 million - a substantial amount from its restricted budget - to mitigate vindictive and immoral Tory policies inflicted on our community.
“If these Tory policies - which bring misery to the country’s most vulnerable - did not exist, then it would free up Scottish Government cash to spend the equivalent of an extra £109 for every man, woman and child in East Dunbartonshire to deal with the spiralling cost of living. “Devolution was meant to provide Scotland with the opportunity to do things differently but, with Westminster holding the key economic levers like borrowing, the Scottish Government is severely constrained. That opportunity is even further restricted if it is continually having to commit eye-watering amounts simply to right the wrongs of the Tories’ underhand austerity agenda at Westminster which is targeted at ordinary people and families and exasperating the cost if living crisis.
“It says something about their priorities that, while they cut funding to help ordinary people, they pursue a tax cut for banks that will benefit them by £4bn at the expense of public spending. “Almost £600million is a vast amount. If the Tories at Westminster would only properly fund the areas in which the SNP Scottish Government must spend to mitigate and protect people, jobs and businesses, this cash could be redirected to make transformational changes in other areas of Scottish life. “Sadly, the direction of travel of this Westminster Government means things will only get worse. It is why the people of Scotland will have the opportunity to choose a different path with a post-pandemic independence referendum once the crisis has passed.”