Sturgeon told by Tories to use £1.5bn toward NHS

Finlay Carson says 'policies' to blame for Scotland's NHS crisis

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Mr Hunt’s statement largely focused on increasing spending on the NHS and education in England. This increased spending meant that Scotland also received more finances from the Government with approximately £800m in 2023/24 and £600m in 2024/25.

After a number of adjustments including tax, this figure will equate to £1.5bn to Scotland over the two-year period under the Barnett formula.

The Conservative Party have instructed Ms Sturgeon to spend the money on tackling the NHS crisis in Scotland.

The Chancellor noted that the further financial package will “help protect vital public services and drive prosperity through the challenging times ahead” while UK Government borrowing, and inflation decreases.

Alongside this, plans were also unveiled to look into upgrading the A75 between Gretna and the port of Cairnryan which sees ferries go to Northern Ireland.

Despite the extra funding which was announced, Scotland’s First Minister rejected the notion that it would help the NHS because as inflation continues to rise into the double-digits Scotland’s spending power has reduced by £1.7billion.

As NHS workers threaten to strike over pay disputes after not having their wages rise with inflation, Sturgeon’s deputy John Swinney said that despite the extra money he has no “unallocated resources” in the financial year to offer NHS workers a better pay package.

He said: “We’ve been very clear that in this financial year – because in the budget statement there is no new money for this financial year – I have no unallocated resources.

“We will take time to consider the implications for Scotland before setting out our own plans as part of the normal budget process.”

Despite this, Scottish Tories’ Shadow Finance Secretary Liz Smith said that the SNP administration has to use the money to “help tackle the crisis in Scotland’s NHS which they are presiding over”.

Alongside worker strikes, the NHS is being crippled by all-time high waiting times at accident and emergency departments and for elective surgery.

Stories have emerged of queues of ambulances outside hospitals waiting for hours until a bed became free for their patients.

A number of patients have been treated in the ambulances outside the hospitals and sent home without stepping foot into the building.

Mr Swinney announced a cut of £400million to frontline health and social care services this year in order to pay for increased wages.

He told Westminster to provide Scotland with more funding in order to offer better pay deals for health staff threatening to strike.

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Jeremy Hunt added that alongside the £1.5billion over the next two financial years, “Scottish families will receive billions of pounds of UK government support, such as inflation-matching increases in benefits and the state pension”.

The Scottish government have been warned by Downing Street that it is “expected to live within these new budgets and support our mission of fiscal discipline”.

The Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “We are facing complex global challenges, and the Chancellor has had to take some difficult decisions.

“By reducing our borrowing, tackling the root causes of inflations and putting our public finances on a stable footing, we will create the economic stability we need for our long-term prosperity.”

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