Skip to main content

Scottish Economy

Volume 737: debated on Wednesday 13 September 2023

When it comes to growth, the hon. Lady will have noted that the economic data shows that we have recovered better from the pandemic than France, Italy or Germany. Supporting economic growth in Scotland remains a core priority of the Scotland Office, exemplified through our work in investing in the city and regional growth deals and in delivering freeports and investment zones in Scotland, which has brought tens of millions of pounds in investment and has created highly paid jobs.

There is huge potential for offshore wind in Scotland and it is an important part of the transition to a green economy there. What conversations will the Minister be having with the offshore wind sector following the absolutely disastrous contracts for difference round last week?

I personally engage with all sectors of the energy market, including the offshore wind sector. We are very pleased with the announcements that have been made following the announcements last week and will continue to engage with the sector to see it develop across Scotland and other parts of the United Kingdom.

I join the Secretary of State in saying how gutted we are about the football result last night—but mark my words, we will be seeking revenge in Germany at the European championships next year.

I take this opportunity to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Blaydon (Liz Twist), who was in the shadow Scotland team but has moved on to do new things after the reshuffle, and to welcome to the Scotland team my hon. Friend the Member for Keir Hardie’s old seat, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Gerald Jones). He is very welcome.

Last week, it was revealed that the former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for South West Norfolk (Elizabeth Truss), had secured a book deal. Her book is titled “Ten Years to Save the West”, but it might have been better focusing on the 44 days it took her and her Government, with the support of the Scottish Secretary, to crush the economy. Does the Minister accept that Scots will be paying the price for years to come for the Tories’ kamikaze handling of the economy?

As the hon. Gentleman well knows, the economic challenges we face here in the United Kingdom are no different from those faced by other economies around the world. They have been entirely caused by the illegal war in Ukraine and the covid pandemic. Thankfully, due to the decisive action of this Conservative Government and Prime Minister, the evidence suggests that the UK is recovering from the economic shock far better than France, Italy and Germany.

Ukraine and covid did not crash the economy; this Government did. The truth is that, after 13 years, we have a low-wage, low-growth economy. Let me take the example of residents in a random Scottish constituency, Rutherglen and Hamilton West. Behind every door we knock on, the story is the same: the cost of living. Those voters are paying the price for two bad Governments: the UK Government, who crashed the economy and are asking working people to pay for it, and the Scottish Government, who mismanaged the economy and are also asking working people to pay for it. There is a Tory premium on everyone’s mortgages and rents, alongside the highest tax burden on working people in 80 years, and the SNP wants to increase income taxes further and is proposing eye-watering council tax rates for those residents. Do the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West not deserve a fresh start with Scottish Labour’s Michael Shanks?

It was not so long ago that Scottish Labour was calling for even higher taxes on the people of Scotland. When Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar stood for the leadership, he said:

“I actually think our tax policies will be even more progressive and radical than even John McDonnell’s or Jeremy Corbyn’s tax policies or manifesto”.

Mr Sarwar has now U-turned, of course, but maybe the hon. Gentleman can explain how much Scottish Labour secretly wants to put up taxes in Scotland.