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Wednesday, 7 March, 2001, 18:27 GMT
Opposition attack 'Budget for sin'
Gordon Brown with his treasury team
Gordon Brown with his treasury team
Finance Minister Angus MacKay has welcomed Gordon Brown's budget as a 200m boost for Scotland.

But opposition politicians have heaped derision on the chancellor's proposals, which were described as "a budget for sin" by the Scottish National Party.

And the deputy leader of the Scottish Tories described his strategy as "sleekit".

Speaking immediately after the announcement in the House of Commons, Mr MacKay said: "It is an extremely good budget for Scotland and the UK."

Andrew Wilson
Andrew Wilson: "Budget for sin"
He said the Scottish Executive estimated that the budget would be worth 200m to Scotland.

This was largely down to commitments on drugs, education and health.

"Scotland will get its appropriate share of the extra money announced by the chancellor," he said.

"The only question is where the cabinet priorities will be."

First Minister Henry McLeish welcomed the proposals as a "tremendous boost for Scotland".

Working together

"His prudent handling of the UK economy has laid the ideal foundations for the programmes the executive is taking forward," he said.

"The Budget is a good example of the strength of devolution and of Westminster and Holyrood working together."

However, SNP finance spokesman Andrew Wilson said Mr Brown was trying to undo the damage of his last four budgets.

He said people were left paying more tax under Labour, but the party was investing less of the nation's wealth than the Conservatives had before they left office.

Annabel Goldie
Annabel Goldie: "Sleekit strategy"
"No amount of giveaways on fags, booze and betting before an election - a budget for sin if you like - are going to make any difference," he said.

Annabel Goldie, the deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said it was not a budget for prudence.

"This to me is a sleekit strategy of a cunning chancellor, because he has spent his chancellorship reaching out with a grasping mitt to take money from everybody," she said.

"Now he is giving back a very selective distribution because there is an election forthcoming.

"This is a patent attempt to buy votes."

It is a scandal in the current climate that there is nothing for Scottish farmers in this budget

Michael Moore, Liberal Democrat
And party leader David McLetchie said the public would not be fooled by Labour's pre-election "bribes".

"All Gordon Brown did today was give back a fraction of what he has already taken in tax from the people of this country," he said.

"He is like the thief who steals your car one day and comes back the next to return your hubcaps."

Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore said: "There is nothing in this budget for Scotland's farmers or pensioners.

"It is a scandal in the current climate that there is nothing for Scottish farmers in this budget.

Priorities 'all wrong'

"The chancellor had a choice between increasing spending on public services and cutting taxes.

"The fact that Gordon Brown cut taxes by five times as much as he increased public spending shows that his priorities are all wrong."

SNP leader John Swinney said the budget was "an attempt at short-term Labour gain, not long-term benefit for Scotland.

"The SNP welcome a number of measures - for example extra help for families - but it does not undo the damage of Gordon Brown's previous four Budgets."

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See also:

07 Mar 01 | Scotland
'Family man' Brown reveals Budget
07 Mar 01 | Scotland
Whisky leads mix of Budget reaction
07 Mar 01 | Budget 2001
Brown's 'families first' Budget
07 Mar 01 | Scotland
Brown fuels petrol tax cut debate
12 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Parties bow to grey power
05 Mar 01 | Business
Budget to target working mums
10 Nov 00 | UK Politics
Brown set to axe betting tax
02 Nov 00 | Pre budget report
Brown's balancing act
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