SCOTLAND’S Finance Secretary has claimed that £375 million of UK Government funding announced to mitigate the lockdown is not new cash

Chancellor Rishi Sunak laid out plans for an extra £4.6 billion in business support in England after a lockdown was announced this week. As a result, the Treasury said, Scotland would receive an allocation of £375 million.

But Kate Forbes, the Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary has said she was “both surprised and disappointed” that the funding is not new and suggested the £375 million would form part of cash that had already been announced by Westminster.

The Scottish Government believes the money had already been guaranteed by Westminster to the devolved administrations – expected to total £8.6 billion for Scotland this financial year.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak funding 'not enough' to save Scottish businesses

Ms Forbes said: “We are both surprised and disappointed that the UK Government’s announcement of additional funding for businesses in England will not – despite the initial indications – generate further new funding for the Scottish Government or other devolved administrations.

“This is a blow to Scottish businesses, whose expectations had been raised by the announcement, and I will be writing to the Chancellor to raise the issue.

“We fully understand that while the tight new restrictions now in force are necessary to slow spread of the virus, they represent another blow for businesses.

“That is why we have allocated £570 million since October to helping businesses, and this sum will rise due to the number of new businesses eligible for support under the latest lockdown restrictions.”

READ MORE: Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils £4.6bn aid package to help UK businesses get through latest lockdown

On Twitter, Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “In the morning the U.K. Gov declare new funding will come to Scotland and by lunchtime the Treasury have told the Scottish Government there is nothing new for Scottish businesses. They can’t treat Scotland’s businesses like this.”

The Welsh Government's Finance Minister, Rebecca Evans, has also warned the devolved administration's allocation of the 34.6 billion "is part of our existing Covid funding guarantee and is not new money". 

A press release sent out on Tuesday morning said the funding would be “on top of the increased funding which has already been guaranteed by the UK Government”.

However, a post on the UK Government website said it would “contribute to the funding which has already been guaranteed by the UK Government”.

Scottish Labour’s finance spokeswoman Jackie Baillie described the change as “an embarrassing U-turn”.

She added: “It’s time for the UK Government to honour its original statement and provide the additional funds for devolved nations and regions on top of the UK-wide funding package.”

Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack said: “As throughout this crisis, the UK Government’s priority remains to keep people safe and support jobs in all parts of the UK.

“The Chancellor has set out additional support for businesses in England. We hope the Scottish Government uses some of the £8.6 billion we have provided to support struggling Scottish businesses similarly."

He added: "This is on top of the direct UK Government support for people and businesses in Scotland – including our furlough scheme now extended to the end of April, self-employed support, business loans and procuring and paying for millions of doses of the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines.

“The strength of the Union and support offered by the UK Treasury has never been more important.”