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Finance Ministers' Quadrilateral

Published: 24 Oct 2016 16:41

Devolved administrations meet the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

The UK Government must provide a "real investment to support our economy", Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution Derek Mackay told the Chief Secretary to the Treasury today.

UK Government also confirmed its support for the £500 million Scottish Growth Fund, which was set up to unlock investment for the private sector following the increased uncertainty as a result of the vote to leave the European Union.

Following a meeting of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland finance ministers last week, the ministers of the devolved administrations have called on the UK Government to end austerity, to set out a positive fiscal stimulus in the autumn statement and address the economic uncertainty following the EU referendum.

The three devolved administrations also warned the UK Government that there should be no further reduction in their budgets as a result of the worsening economic outlook.

Following the meeting, Mr Mackay said:

"The UK Government's reckless austerity drive has seen services suffer, investment held back and drove many people and communities to vote for Brexit.

"The UK Government is now facing an increasingly negative economic outlook and it is essential they act and act now to prevent a downturn.

"People across the UK have already paid the price of austerity, the UK Government must now ensure they do not pay the price for the economic uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote.

"It is time for the UK government to set out a clear plan, to protect budgets and services and to commit not to introduce any further cuts to the budget settlements devolved administrations were given last year.

"What is most important is that we see a positive fiscal stimulus to support our economy in these challenging and turbulent times.

"The half a billion pounds Scottish Growth Fund was introduced as an exceptional response to an exceptional economic challenge. In the absence of any real clarity or leadership from the UK Government, we wanted to make sure that the Scottish Government was able to share some of the risk faced by small companies. I am pleased that we were able to make progress on this today and the Scottish Government has ensured this support will be available to Scottish businesses, with approval from the Treasury.

"Since the EU referendum, I have seen a strong consensus from across the devolved administrations that the actions of the UK Government are damaging our ability to plan investment in our economy. They have no mandate to remove the UK, or any part of the UK , from the single market, and we all have real concerns about the economic impact that it would have on GDP, employment and economic growth. That is why we put extra emphasis on our position and the immediate measures the UK Government could take to protect our economy."