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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 17:42 GMT
Varied response to Brown's report
Gordon Brown
The pre-Budget report is Mr Brown's 10th
The chancellor's Scottish supporters have welcomed "extra investment" in his pre-Budget report while the SNP has accused him of failing the economy.

Gordon Brown's pre-Budget speech sought to establish his "green" credentials, giving prominence to the environment along with science and innovation.

Scottish Secretary Douglas Alexander welcomed an extra 284m for the Scottish Executive.

He said the UK's economic stability directly benefited Scotland.

Mr Alexander said: "Today's report once again demonstrates how Scotland benefits from the government's sound management of the economy and the public finances."

He said the extra money would enable the executive to continue making record levels of investment in public services.

This was a pre-Budget statement without direction, from a chancellor without a plan
Stuart Hosie, SNP

"Our employment rate is higher than the UK average and almost every country in the EU, and all projections are for Scotland's economy to continue growing this year and next," he added.

Mr Alexander welcomed the fact that airports in the Highlands and Islands would remain exempt from Air Passenger Duty and that a number of Scottish businesses would benefit from discount on fuel duty for bio fuels.

He said 220,000 pensioner households would benefit from the increases to the Pension Credits with 700,000 helped by the continuation of winter fuel payments and 500,000 families would benefit from a rise in some child tax credits.

The chancellor also announced a feasibility study for a UK carbon capture power plant which would generate 'carbon-free' electricity from hydrogen.

BP already has plans for such a clean energy project at Peterhead.

However, Scottish National Party MP Stewart Hosie criticised the chancellor for failing to address a low growth rate, increasing levels of fuel poverty and job losses in the manufacturing sector.

"This was a pre-Budget statement without direction, from a chancellor without a plan," he said.

"Under this government's watch, while the UK's economy has grown by 43%, Scotland's has grown by just 35%."

He added: "Scotland is an energy rich nation yet under the stewardship of this chancellor, in the last two years, we have witnessed an increase of more than 40,000 homes suffering from fuel poverty. This is wholly unacceptable.

Factory machine
The SNP was concerned about manufacturing job losses

"There has been nothing but complacency over the job losses suffered by Scotland's manufacturing industries."

Scottish Conservative MP David Mundell said: "The only thing that is certain after the chancellor's tenth, and perhaps last, pre-Budget report is that Scots will be paying even more in tax and our economy will be even more uncompetitive with our European rivals.

"I hope that if there is to be extra money for schools, that it actually gets to Scottish pupils and that it is not creamed off by the Scottish Executive and councils for their own agendas."

Green MSP Mark Ballard said: "Many of the measures outlined by Brown sound good on the ear, but without bolder steps nor mandatory targets to reduce carbon emissions year on year, they will not deliver the results needed.

"The recent Stern report confirmed that if climate change is not tackled, the economy will suffer catastrophe - Brown needs to heed this advice and get serious on reducing carbon emissions rather than fiddling while Rome burns."

John McFall, Labour MP for West Dunbartonshire, who is also the Treasury Select Committee chairman called for Mr Brown to work with trades unions and employers to avoid a two-tier workforce.

'Curate's egg'

STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said: "There is much to be welcomed in the chancellor's statement, particularly the extra resources provided to ensure the national minimum wage is effectively enforced.

"The chancellor's comments on science, innovation and the environment are also encouraging and we look forward to the carbon capture and storage demonstration project coming to Scotland.

"The STUC look forward to discussing with the Scottish Executive how the consequentials from today's announcement can be used to best effect in Scotland. We will be stressing in those discussions the importance of the skill needs of those in work."

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce's chief executive Ron Hewitt said: "It's the proverbial curate's egg - good in parts."

  • On Tuesday, a survey from law firm Anderson Strathern showed that only 53% of Scots would be willing to carry out planning to reduce inheritance tax, 62% would gift assets as a means of lowering their bills and 58% would be willing to change their will.

    The firm said this would result in thousands of Scottish families being liable to face higher tax bills in the event of death.

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