Kate Forbes: Joint working needed on funding for Coronavirus response

Kate Forbes: Joint working needed on funding for Coronavirus response

Kate Forbes

Finance secretary Kate Forbes has said that rapid joint engagement is needed on funding for the COVID-19 response in Scotland following the UK Government’s budget.

Responding to the UK budget announcement, Ms Forbes said: “While I’m pleased to see the UK Government’s economic response to coronavirus following my calls for this at the UK Treasury yesterday, we need confirmation on what this will mean for Scotland. We require urgent clarification on what funding Scotland will receive from the announcements made by the UK Government, at a time when the prospects for the economy and public finances remain very uncertain as the short term impacts of COVID-19 unfold.

“It is vital that our businesses, employees, health service and the most economically vulnerable in our society are all protected through this time, and this additional funding will help us in our response.

“I will ensure that businesses in Scotland are supported and will work with the business community to identify the most effective measures available to us, when we have more clarity on the funding available.

“We expect full consequentials from this additional funding and need urgent clarification to provide clarity for Scottish businesses and NHS Scotland to ensure we can respond effectively.

“The Barnett consequentials announced today are in line with the assumptions that underpinned the Scottish Budget and Budget Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament last week. While this funding is welcome, our resource budget is still lower in real terms than it was in 2010/11.”

A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 has been launched today.

The helpline, which is now live, will be open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Based at Scottish Enterprise’s existing call centre in Clydebank, advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19. The helpline will also help the Scottish Government identify the current challenges facing businesses.

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