Responding to the Chancellor’s Budget Statement, Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said:
“As anticipated this was an uneventful Budget primarily designed not to provoke Tory backbenchers prior to the EU referendum.
“The STUC welcomes introduction of the Sugar Tax and the Chancellor’s commitment to implementing in full the recommendations of the Bean Review of economic statistics.
“However the Chancellor’s approach to tax confirms that his ‘we’re all in this together’ line can’t be taken seriously. Raising the personal allowance and higher rate threshold are very expensive measures which benefit most those in the top half of the income distribution whilst doing nothing for the 4 million lowest paid workers. Cutting corporation tax, business rates and capital gains taxes will do nothing to boost jobs, growth, innovation or productivity.
“The STUC believes the Chancellor could have provided significantly more support to the oil and gas sector particularly on exploration incentives and investment allowances. However, it is important to recognise that tax cuts were never going to be a sufficient response to the current crisis given that profits are forecast to fall away to almost nothing over the course of this Parliament. We note that the Government will consider proposals for using the UK Guarantees Scheme for infrastructure to help secure new investment in assets of strategic importance. It is essential that this work proceeds immediately.
“The Government must also act to support those who work in the sector by stressing to the oil and gas majors that they must cease forcing unsustainable price cuts on the supply chain.
“The OBR is undoubtedly correct to revise down its growth forecasts in the face of global and domestic headwinds. The Chancellor is catastrophically wrong to increase spending cuts in an already slowing economy. Once again, it is society’s most vulnerable citizens who will suffer the most”.
For further information contact Stephen Boyd 0141 337 8100