Review did not rise to the challenge' to set Scotland on the right path for the future, warns leading think-tank
Yesterday's Resource Spending Review failed to show where, or how the Scottish Government will deliver the Scottish Parliament's big ambitions to tackle child poverty, reach net zero, and deliver public service reform, according to IPPR Scotland.
Philip Whyte, director of IPPR Scotland, said:
There are big ambitions to deliver in this Parliament - from reducing child poverty, to accelerating towards net zero, to designing public services fit for the twenty first century. We need spending plans to rise to those ambitions.
While the Resource Spending Review indicates a somewhat positive direction - with increases across social security and social justice, net-zero, education, and health - on the face of the document this essentially just locks in many existing commitments and does little to show where bold new policy action might be taken.
With an assumed cash-terms increase of 5.7 billion over the period, the Scottish Government have essentially applied a cash-terms freeze to most portfolios and spread what's left over across the rest. While those increases are obviously welcome, it's also been a missed opportunity. It leaves little headroom for future years at a time when we need to supercharge funding and delivery of efforts to tackle poverty and the climate crisis, and when households and the economy are teetering on the brink. It's also left to future budgets to show how progressive taxation will further fund progressive policy.
Ultimately, it's a Spending Review which had the opportunity to take difficult decisions, and a fresh approach to how resources are allocated. Instead, there's a risk it falls short of what will likely be required to meet the challenges ahead - but without more detail we are still in the dark.