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Volume 671: debated on Wednesday 12 February 2020

9. What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the forthcoming Budget. (900717)

I have regular discussions with all my Cabinet colleagues on issues important to Scotland’s economy, including the forthcoming Budget in March. The Government will deliver a Budget for Scotland’s businesses and Scotland’s people. We will set out ambitious plans to unleash Britain’s potential and level up across the nations and regions of the UK.

Given the close economic relationship between the south of Scotland and the north of England, particularly within the borderlands region, will the Minister make representations to the Chancellor on and give his support to a freeport at the Carlisle Lake District airport?

I welcome the recent freeports announcement, and I have no doubt that freeports will unleash the potential of our proud historic ports, boosting and regenerating communities across the UK. I and other Ministers on the Front Bench—the Chancellor is here—have heard my hon. Friend’s early representations on behalf of his airport and his area. Not only is he a great champion for the borderlands, but he is a great champion for the Carlisle Lake District airport.

Page 64 of the 2015 statement of funding policy document confirms that HS2 should have 100% Barnett consequentials for Scotland. Will the Secretary of State ask for those Barnett consequentials, roughly £750 million in relation to what is being spent on HS2, to be delivered in the Budget?

There already has been a Barnett consequential relating to HS2 spending. In the next spending round, we will see what money is allocated to the Department for Transport. That money will have a Barnett consequential.

Over the weekend, Kingsbarns distillery in my constituency won the “Best Lowlands Scotch, 12 years and Under” award at the world whisky awards. However, the impact of US tariffs continues to impede the growth of the Scotch whisky industry in my constituency and across Scotland. Will the forthcoming Budget include provisions to help our distilleries to compete internationally, despite those stifling tariffs?

I know that the hon. Lady has a lot of experience of this, having formerly worked for Diageo. The 25% tariffs on malt whisky are a consequence of the Boeing-Airbus dispute between the EU and the USA. In the next carousel, by having useful negotiations on a US trade deal, we want to get those tariffs removed.