The UK and Scottish Governments have reached an agreement on an updated Fiscal Framework. Holyrood’s capital borrowing powers will rise in line with inflation, enabling the Scottish Government to invest further in schools, hospitals, roads and other key infrastructure that will help to create better paid jobs and opportunity in Scotland.
The new deal maintains the Barnett formula, through which the Scottish Government receives over £8 billion more funding each year than if it received the levels of UK Government spending per person elsewhere in the UK. It also updates funding arrangements in relation to court revenues and the Crown Estate.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said: “This is a fair and responsible deal that has been arrived at following a serious and proactive offer from the UK Government. We have kept what works and listened to the Scottish Government’s calls for greater certainty and flexibility to deliver for Scotland.
“The Scottish Government can now use this for greater investment in public services to help the people of Scotland prosper. These are the clear benefits of a United Kingdom that is stronger as a union.”
The funding arrangements for tax will be continued, with the Scottish Government continuing to keep every penny of devolved Scottish taxes while also receiving an additional contribution from the rest of the UK. Under the previous Fiscal Framework, the Scottish Government could borrow £450 million per year within a £3 billion cap, as well as receiving a Barnett-based share of UK Government borrowing.
Going forward these amounts will instead rise in line with inflation, which supports additional investment across Scotland and lays the foundations for economic growth. The UK Government has listened to calls from the Scottish Government for greater certainty and flexibility to help them manage their Budget and agreed a permanent doubling of the resource borrowing annual limit from £300 million to £600 million. Limits on how much can be withdrawn from the Scotland Reserve to spend in future years will also be removed.
This will boost spending through borrowing by £90 million in 2024/25. All future limits will increase in line with inflation.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The renewed Fiscal Framework shows what can be achieved when there is a collaborative focus on delivering economic opportunity and why we are stronger and more prosperous as one United Kingdom.
"The deal - worth billions of pounds to Scotland over the coming years - builds upon work to support economic growth and provide more high skill jobs, investment and future opportunities for local people, such as the establishment of Investment Zones and Freeports in Scotland.
"The UK Government knows that high prices are still a huge worry for families. That’s why we’re sticking to our plan to halve inflation, reduce debt and grow the economy. As well as providing targeted cost of living support, we are directly investing more than £2.4 billion in hundreds of projects across Scotland as we help level up the country."
As both governments continue to work together to tackle challenges like the cost of living, an updated Fiscal Framework equips the Scottish Government with the instruments for growth while protecting the wider public finances.