1. ITV Report

Autumn Statement impact for Scotland

Peter MacMahon Photo: ITV News Border

The coming independence referendum is at the heart of everything that happens in politics north of the Border.

Which means that the UK Chancellor's Autumn Statement has to be seen in that context for Scotland.

The Scotland Office, the UK government's arm in Scotland, were quick off the mark to get out the information.

This is what the Scotland Office says:

  • The Scottish Government will see a net increase of £308 million over the next two years.
  • The Scottish Government’s resource budget will increase by £210 million
  • Since the Spending Review 2010, the Scottish budget has received an extra £2.2 billion
  • While most UK departments will have to make savings of 1.1%, the Scottish Government’s budget will be reduced by less than 0.2%

The Scotland Office is just as political as the Scottish government when it comes to the debate on independence.

So it has suggested that, while it is for the Scottish Government to decide what it does with the extra cash, the money could be spent on childcare.

The SNP has made childcare the centrepiece of its plans for independence. There were further exchanges about this at First Minister's Questions today.

The Scotland Office are saying this money could be used to introduce better childcare - or further moves towards that - now under devolution with no need for independence.

There's also a point made by the Scotland office that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) says there will be a near £4bn drop in North Sea revenues over the next three years.

This is another political point ahead of the referendum. Those in favour of Scotland remaining in the UK say that oil revenue is volatile and that it could not be relied on to fund spending in an independent Scotland.

Now, these figures will be challenged by the SNP-controlled Scottish government and we will bring you that as soon as we can.

Meanwhile, this is the initial reaction from the SNP to the autumn statement.

"This Tory Chancellor has a miserable record on economic growth and borrowing - and an austerity agenda of cuts, cuts and more cuts to come. The new hammer blow today from Westminster is that the retirement age is to rise yet again.

"This means that Scottish youngsters leaving school this year will have to work for more than 50 years to get the state pension they will pay for, and it takes no account of Scotland's lower life expectancy.

"The Tory Chancellor is adding unfairness on top of austerity.And he was silent on the £4 billion threat to Scotland's budget if there is a No vote next year .

“George Osborne has failed to meet any of his own targets, and is delivering an unfair policy agenda that has been roundly rejected by the people of Scotland - adding to the importance of people in Scotland voting Yes next year.”

– SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie MP

Mr Hosie added that even if there was a modest increase in the mount of money coming to Scotland it would not compensate for cuts in capital and revenue from the UK government over recent years.

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