• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Salmond to ask Westminster for more cash to kickstart recovery

Alex Salmond will demand more money for Scotland when ministers from across the UK meet today at Westminster.

The First Minister will call for the the Scottish Government to be allowed to bring forward around £350 million earmarked for spending in future years, to help the recovery next year.

Loading article content

Mr Salmond will make the demand at a meeting where ministers from Westminster, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will discuss the economy and relations between London and the devolved administrations.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw will chair the gathering and Prime Minister Gordon Brown will also be present for a time.

Relations between the Scotland and Westminster came under the spotlight in the international controversy over Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s decision to free the convicted terminally-ill Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi from jail on compassionate grounds.

But the Scottish Government is not expecting Lockerbie to be raised at today’s meeting.

A spokesman said: “It was a decision to grant compassionate early release for the reasons given by the justice secretary, acting in a quasi-judicial capacity.”

The demand for the Scottish Government to be allowed to continue calling down cash reserved for future spending comes on the eve of Finance Secretary John Swinney announcing details at Holyrood tomorrow for his planned budget for next year.

Mr Swinney will be at today’s meeting, with External Affairs Minister Mike Russell.

The Westminster team will include Scots Secretary Jim Murphy, Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward and Treasury Chief Secretary Liam Byrne for part of the meeting.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will be there, as will Wales’s First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones.

A spokesman for Mr Salmond played down suggestions that the devolved administrations would gang up on the Treasury in a concerted bid to extract more cash.

But he said Mr Salmond would make the argument that efforts at recovery could be dented if Scotland’s accelerated capital spending was not continued.

“Unless that does happen, the fiscal stimulus effectively goes into reverse,” said the spokesman.

“Bringing forward the capital budget to this year was the contribution we made to fighting recession, as part of a programme that extended across the UK.”

He went on: “What we want to get in the first instance is an agreement in principle that the exercise should be rolled forward - there’s never been any rejection of it when it’s been raised before.”

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

PARCH1.920225