The super-rich are “laughing down to the very bank,” Scotland’s First Minister said after the Chancellor unveiled plans he said would boost economic growth.
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced the elimination of the top tax rate and a reduction in the property tax rate to 19 pence per pound when he announced his so-called mini-budget on Friday.
As a result of the income tax cut and a reduction in stamp duty, the Treasury said the Scottish Government will receive £600m over the three-year period covered by the 2021 spending review.
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The Social Security increase proposed under Boris Johnson has also been scrapped, benefiting 2.3 million people in Scotland, the Treasury Department said.
Mr Kwarteng also added restrictions to the benefits system, removing the cap on bankers’ bonuses as he spent tens of billions of pounds to spur growth.
The Chancellor said that increases in jobs, wages and public funds “will not happen overnight”, but the statement sends a clear signal “that growth is our priority”.
“The UK Government’s fiscal strength has enabled thousands of businesses in Scotland to keep more of their own money to invest, innovate and grow,” he said.
“We are cutting social security for 2.3 million Scottish workers, saving them an average of £285.
“And our Energy Bill Relief Scheme protects thousands of businesses across Scotland from rising energy costs through rebates on wholesale gas and electricity prices.
“In doing so, our growth plan puts the whole of the UK on a growth path, building on the strength of our Union and unleashing the tremendous potential of this country.”
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But Nicola Sturgeon has targeted the plans, which she said on Twitter would benefit the rich while working people struggled.
“The super-rich are laughing all the way to the bank proper (although I suspect many of them will also be appalled at the Tories’ moral bankruptcy), while more and more of the rest are relying on food banks – all thanks to the incompetence and recklessness of this.” the British government failed,” she said on Twitter.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney, who is responsible for the finance letter while Treasury Secretary Kate Forbes is on maternity leave, said the statement will “come cold comfort to the millions of people across Scotland who have been looking for the UK Government to help.” to use their reserve powers to support those who need it most”.
“Instead, we get tax cuts for the rich and nothing for those who need it most,” he added.
“We estimate that raising the price cap to £2,500 will push an estimated 150,000 more Scottish households into extreme energy poverty.
“Instead of offering these people support, the Chancellor is threatening to further cut their family budgets with a new social welfare regime.”
The growth plan, Mr Swinney said, will only lead to “growth of inequality”.
He said the Scottish Government would announce any changes to the Property and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) – the Scottish equivalent of stamp duty – as part of the “normal budgetary procedure” and signaled no immediate changes would be made.
The Deputy First Minister also vowed to “continue to discuss” plans for special investment zones but said the plans, which would see tax cuts and more lax planning rules, had to be “right for Scotland”.
Scottish Green Finance spokesman Ross Greer said the budget was for “banks, the super-rich and big polluters”.
“It’s targeting all the wrong things and will only serve to help the rich get richer while penalizing low-income people and those most dependent on public services,” he added.
But Scottish Minister Alister Jack hailed the plans as “ambitious”, adding: “A strong economy is the best way to meet the cost of living challenges we are all facing as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Our growth plan will support households and businesses in Scotland while driving economic growth to create jobs, investment and prosperity.
“The British Government provides for the people of Scotland when it really matters.”