Scotland in ‘very difficult financial position’, admits finance sercretary Kate Forbes

KATE Forbes has warned Scotland faces a “very difficult financial position” over the next few years after leading economists said she may be forced to hike taxes or cut services.

The SNP Finance Secretary said the Government would need to be “canny” with its spending to grow the economy after the pandemic and steer it through the cost of living crisis.

She said “more focused” public sector funds would help tackle child poverty, reach net zero and deliver sustainable services for the future, suggesting cuts in ‘non-priority’ areas.

The Sunday Times today reported education and justice budgets may be first in line to be squeezed, despite a worsening attainment gap and a huge Covid-related backlog of court cases.

Ms Forbes will publish the first multi-year spending review in more than a decade on Tuesday, setting out the “broad parameters” for Government spending for the next four years, as well as government reforms.

The Scottish Government’s own central projection is for a budget spending gap of £3.5billion in the public finances by 2026/27, equivalent to £640 for every person in Scotland.

Last week, the respected think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said bridging that gap would be hard in the best of times, but with soaring inflation driving up public sector pay demands and exacerbating poverty, it would be even harder.

READ MORE: Scottish Government facing ‘very tough decisions’ over £3.5bn funding gap,…

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