Last month’s Budget provides continued UK-wide support and security to manage the ongoing impacts of covid-19. One in three jobs in Scotland has been supported by the UK Government’s employment support package; Scottish businesses have benefited from more than £3.4 billion of loans and support; and we have provided a much needed boost to the Scottish tourism and hospitality sector with our UK-wide extension of the VAT reduction.
Scotland’s Auditor General recently said that the Scottish Government had received an extra £9.7 billion from the UK Government during 2020-21 to tackle covid, yet it only made £7 billion-worth of spending announcements in response to the pandemic up to the end of 2020. The Auditor General said that that left £2.7 billion unallocated. Does my hon. Friend agree that this highlights the need for transparency and scrutiny of Scottish Government spending, as people in Scotland have a right to know how much money is being spent to help Scotland to deal with the pandemic?
My hon. Friend is right to draw the House’s attention to this alarming finding. People in Scotland want to know that the money that this Government have provided is reaching them and their businesses, and it is of great concern that Audit Scotland has identified this shortfall. I absolutely agree that there must be maximum transparency on this matter.