Chancellor gets his ‘ear bent’ ahead of budget 2018

John Lamont MP has met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss what the Borders needs out of the Autumn Budget, expected next month.

Along with his Scottish Conservative colleagues, the meeting with Philip Hammond MP was arranged to discuss Scottish Conservatives ‘key asks’ for this year’s budget.

Last year, the Chancellor praised the hard work of the group, saying in Parliament: “I am getting used to the experience of having my ear bent by my thirteen Scottish Conservative colleagues.”

This hard work helped deliver a £2bn budget boost for the Scottish Government, a VAT exemption for the Scottish Police and Fire services, and a freeze in alcohol duty, helping support new distilleries in the Borders.

The next budget will outline the spending priorities for the UK Government and is expected to confirm an extra £20bn a year by 2023 for the NHS. The Scottish Government will receive an extra £2bn a year from this announcement, in the form of Barnett consequentials.

John Lamont MP said: “It was useful to meet with the Chancellor to explain what the Borders needs out of this budget.

“My priorities include support for the Borderlands Growth Deal, including assistance to move the extension of the Borders Railway forward. I am also keen that alcohol duty remains competative, to support the three new distilleries starting up in the Borders at the moment.

“This is going to be a hugely significant budget because it will bring the UK even closer to spending within our means for the first time in decades thanks to record employment and strong economic growth.

“It’s also welcome news that this Budget will confirm an extra £2bn for the Scottish Government to spend on health. We need to see a fair chunk of this going to rural health boards, like NHS Borders, who are struggling with cancelled operations, delayed discharge and staff recruitment.”