Brown urges Treasury to adopt plan to protect economy in wake of EU vote.
The UK Government needs to take urgent action to support the efforts of the Scottish Government to stimulate growth in the wake of the EU referendum vote, Keith Brown said today.
The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work has called on the Treasury to follow the Scottish example and bring forward a stimulus package based on increased capital spending.
An increase in UK infrastructure spend of £5 billion could provide an additional £400 million spend in Scotland, supporting around 3,000 jobs.
Mr Brown was speaking ahead of today's (Tuesday) Parliamentary debate that will consider the £100 million capital stimulus package already put in place by the Scottish Government to keep the economy moving.
Along with increased capital spending, Mr Brown also said the Treasury could nurture growth by providing further support for exporting companies as the depreciation of Sterling provides an opportunity for companies to either move into new export markets, or start exporting for the first time.
Mr Brown said:
"The UK Government's continued austerity means we are already facing a 10% real terms cuts to our budget over 10 years to 2020 and now the UK wide vote for Brexit threatens to make those cuts even harder.
"The Fraser of Allander report, out last week, shows that Brexit has put Scotland's economy and our public services at further risk of cuts from Westminster.
"In contrast, the Scottish Government has acted swiftly to support the economy following the UK wide vote to leave the EU by bringing forward an additional £100 million of capital investment, setting out plans for a £500 million Scottish Growth Scheme to support businesses and working hard to secure Scotland's continued place in the EU. The Scottish Parliament will have a full opportunity to debate our Scottish stimulus package this afternoon.
"But we haven't seen the same action forthcoming at a UK level – where clarity on Brexit remains completely absent.
"However, there are actions the Treasury could take as a matter of urgency to help our businesses. Primary among them is increased capital spending, that would allow us to build on our own stimulus package, protecting and creating jobs. Further support exports at a UK level, would also help us add to what we are already doing in this area in Scotland and nurture increased growth. I am calling for the Treasury to take this action as a clear plan for how the UK Government can help at this critical juncture for our economy.
"Last week's employment figures show our unemployment rate is now lower than the UK as a whole. But a failure to act at a UK level could put that really encouraging progress in jeopardy.
"Our priority will continue to be protecting our economy, while also working to preserve our EU membership and access to the single market. I hope the UK Government will act to support our efforts – in the Autumn Statement as a minimum, but ideally in shorter order than that."
Further details of the capital investment: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Capital-spending-boost-post-Brexit-vote-2872.aspx
Further details of the Scottish Growth Fund: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/-500m-new-support-for-businesses-2a31.aspx