The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a raft of new measures to protect jobs amid the serious economic hit from coronavirus, including an acceleration of the Borderlands Growth Deal.
The Spending Review focussed on getting the UK through the economic hit of the coronavirus whilst investing in infrastructure to boost the economy.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that the economy will contract this year by 11.3% - the biggest fall in 300 years. To protect jobs and keep the country running, the government has had to significantly increase borrowing to £394bn this year.
The Borderlands Growth Deal will be accelerated by bringing forward the investment, with £2.1m extra allocated for Scottish investment.
The Scottish Government budget will see a £2.4bn increase with the extra funding coming from the UK Government.
The National Living Wage will also be increased to £8.91 per hour, meaning a full-time worker on the National Living Wage will see their pay rise by £345 next year.
There will be £1.2bn to support the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband and for improving 4G coverage in rural areas.
The overseas aid budget will also be temporarily cut to focus spending on domestic priorities. However, the UK will remain one of the biggest donors in the world.
John Lamont MP: “I have been pressuring the government to commit to accelerating the Borderlands Growth Deal to help us deal with the economic hit of coronavirus. I am delighted that these calls have been listened to.
“Investing in our broadband and 4G capabilities will help our economy to build back better and make rural areas like the Borders an even better place to stay.
“The extra £2.4bn for Scotland will also allow more investment in our NHS and help protect our public services.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on the public finances. But the unprecedented spending on schemes such as furlough and increasing the capacity of our NHS were absolutely necessary and continue to be.
“We can now begin to rebuild our economy by investing in infrastructure and protecting local jobs. There is a tough road ahead, but with this extra funding from the UK Government I believe the Borders will arrive at a prosperous destination.”
Rachael Hamilton MSP added: “The Chancellor’s Spending Review today highlights the important interventions being made to help our country through these difficult times.
“The UK Conservative Government’s furlough scheme and support for the self-employed is continuing to support hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“Even more support has been announced for the Scottish Government to the tune of £2.4bn. It is really important that the Scottish Government get this support out to businesses and individuals as quickly as possible.
“I very much welcome the accelerated programme to bring forward the Borderlands Growth Deal which will ensure the Borders will see new projects to boost our local economy.
“Greater funding for the Borders, improved broadband infrastructure and new measures to protect jobs will ensure our area can get back on the road to economic recovery”.