MSPs 'concerned' cost of living crisis could impact Covid recovery plans

MSPs have written to John Swinney ahead of the budget being set out on December 15.

MSPs call on John Swinney to provide clarity over funding for Scotland’s Covid recovery plans STV News

John Swinney has been asked to clarify whether the cost of living crisis will impact on funding aimed at helping Scotland to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It comes ahead of Swinney setting out the Scottish budget on December 15.

A letter has been sent to the deputy first minister from Holyrood’s Covid-19 Recovery Committee.

They are seeking clarity from Swinney, who is also the Cabinet secretary for Covid recovery, on the funding that will be made available.

MSPs on the committee have heard concerns over how the cost crisis could affect the funding and delivering of the Scottish Government’s Covid Recovery Strategy.

It had earmarked funding to support low-income households among its measures.

The strategy was published in October 2021, before the scale of the cost of living crisis was apparent.

Siobhian Brown, convener of the committee, explained that MSPs are seeking clarity on how much funding the Government intends to commit to achieving the outcomes of its strategy.

“During our pre-budget scrutiny, we heard that the Scottish Government’s budget is approximately £1.7bn less than it was worth in December 2021 due to inflationary pressures,” she said.

“The Committee therefore are seeking clarity on how this will impact the Scottish Government’s priorities and ability to deliver the outcomes as set out in the Covid Recovery Strategy and whether it intends to refresh the strategy to reflect any policy changes in light of the cost-of-living crisis.

“As the budget doesn’t commit to specific spending on Covid-19 or Covid Recovery, it’s important that there is greater clarity provided on how much funding the Scottish Government intends to commit to achieving the outcomes identified in its Covid Recovery Strategy within the upcoming budget.”