Murdo Fraser MSP highlights benefits to Scotland from UK Budget

Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Murdo Fraser has hailed the positive measures announced in the UK Government’s Budget for individuals and businesses across Mid Scotland and Fife.

Mr Fraser, who is his party’s Finance Spokesman says that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has once again stepped up to protect jobs and livelihoods as we look to rebuild the economy after the devastating effects of the pandemic.

Among the measures announced by the Chancellor were an extension of the furlough scheme until the end of September as well more support for the self-employed.

The Chancellor also backed Scottish Conservative calls for an extension to the Universal Credit uplift.

UK-wide measures such as an extension of the VAT cut to hospitality continuing until September at five per cent as well as the setting up of a recovery loan scheme for businesses and the freezing of fuel duty are also set to benefit Mr Fraser’s constituents.

He also called on SNP Finance Secretary Kate Forbes to follow Rishi Sunak’s lead in extending the stamp duty holiday for house buyers until the end of June. The SNP’s ‘holiday’ for prospective owners will end this month.

The money provided in the Budget will also give a further £1.2 billion to the Scottish Government.

Commenting, Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Murdo Fraser said: “This is a very positive Budget and once again demonstrates the broad shoulders of the UK Government in stepping up to the plate to help businesses and workers across the nation.

“It has also shown the benefits of the Scottish Conservatives working closely and constructively with Rishi Sunak to deliver these measures.

“Many of the measures announced will be a major boost for families and businesses in Mid Scotland and Fife, including the extension of the Furlough scheme, and self-employed workers being able to access further grants, with the scheme also widened to include hundreds of thousands more individuals. It is also very welcome that Scottish Conservative calls have been heard to extend the uplift in universal credit.

“It was also great to hear the Chancellor unveil a mortgage guarantee scheme to help Britons get on the housing ladder with small deposits. Under this scheme, the Government will offer lenders a guarantee, incentivising them to boost the number of riskier 95% mortgages. He also announced a three-month extension to the stamp duty holiday for properties under £500,000 – a move that will hopefully be replicated by the SNP Government.

“I was also delighted to see the Chancellor announce a new ‘super deduction’ – basically a tax relief to spur business investment along with him freezing all alcohol duties, including those on Scotch whisky and a continuation of the freeze on fuel duty.

“These are all measures that will help businesses and residents in Mid Scotland and Fife and across the UK – again showing the incredible financial help provided by the UK Government during this pandemic.

“It is now imperative that the SNP Government use the extra funding given to them as quickly as possible to support businesses and livelihoods.”

Other measures that will benefit Scotland include a £150 million community buy scheme which could allow communities to take over struggling pubs, sport clubs and theatre venues and a £520 million Help to Grow scheme, offering management training for firms to boost productivity.

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