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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 17:17 GMT
Scotland assessing Budget package

The Scottish Executive will get an extra 87m over two years as a result of UK Government spending increases announced in the chancellor's Budget.

Gordon Brown announced a further freeze on spirits duty, which was welcomed by Scottish whisky distillers.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Darling said the Budget built on strengths and secured Scotland's long-term future.

However, SNP leader Alex Salmond said the speech was designed to boost Mr Brown's ambition to be prime minister.

Mr Brown announced that in the run-up to the London Olympics in 2012, there will be a 'schools olympics' held every year - with the first hosted by Glasgow.

The chancellor said there will be 600m made available for world class facilities and training for athletes across the UK.

'Micro-manage policy'

However, Mr Salmond said: "Scotland was forgotten by a chancellor determined to boost his British credentials."

"He went out of his way to support the 2012 London Olympics and 2018 English World cup bid, but failed to back Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth games.

"This was a chancellor trying to micro-manage policy for England. Once again, most of the policy announcements will not apply to Scotland.

"At a time when Scottish oil is pumping 2,000 a head into Treasury coffers, this Budget left Scotland with financial scraps, with the transfer to the Scottish Executive worth just 15 a head."

The spirits industry is crucial to the Scottish economy
Scottish Secretary
Alistair Darling

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, said: "I was extremely disappointed to notice that the chancellor was more interested in talking about England's sporting teams than Scotland's economic problems or the NHS."

The Conservative MP said: "Make no mistake, this was a Budget solely geared towards Gordon Brown becoming prime minister and as a consequence was pitched to Middle England - not to what's best for Scotland or for Britain."

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of The Scotch Whisky Association, welcomed "another step towards delivering a fairer alcohol duty regime in the UK".

He said: "Today he has again narrowed the duty gap within the alcoholic drinks market, a progressive move supporting our industry's competitiveness and productivity."

The Scottish secretary said: "The spirits industry is crucial to the Scottish economy and the decision to freeze duty for the ninth successive year is a welcome boost."

Mr Darling added: "Hard working families in Scotland will benefit from the increase in the child element of the child tax credit and the additional payments being made to the child trust fund, ensuring that future generations of Scots get the best possible start in their adult life."

He also said that the Scottish Executive, under the Barnett arrangements which decide Scotland's block grant, will get an additional 40m and 47m next year and in 2007/08 respectively.

North sea oil operators said they would be hit with an extra 200m in tax bills over the next three years.

This is above billions extra which the chancellor announced in November.


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