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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 17:29 GMT
In quotes - Scottish Budget reaction
Alistair Darling has presented his first Budget in the House of Commons.

The chancellor announced big increases in duty on alcohol and high-polluting cars.

Stewart Hosie MP, SNP Treasury spokesman

"The whisky sector is one of Scotland's key industries both in export, earnings and employment terms, and when the task should have been to tackle binge drinking by differentiating between products and making the tax system fairer, Alistair Darling has chosen to clobber one of Scotland's premier products.

"What kind of signal does this send out internationally when the Scotch Whisky industry cannot even trust the UK Government to treat it fairly?"

David Cairns, Scotland Office minister

"In a time of global economic uncertainty, this Budget demonstrates that Scotland continues to benefit from being part of a UK economy that is well set to weather the difficult times that the world faces.

"The UK Government's management of the public finances means that the Scottish Executive has a bigger budget than ever before. Alex Salmond now has twice the amount of money that Donald Dewar had."

Michael Moore MP, Scottish Lib Dems deputy leader

"In this Budget the chancellor has failed the tests he set himself, which takes some doing.

"He has produced a meagre, tinkering budget which fails on the environment, fails on child poverty and fails on fairness to pensioners."

Liz Cameron, Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive

"Alistair Darling's first Budget was a missed opportunity for the UK Government to boost Scottish businesses.

"The chancellor failed to mention Scotland even once during his speech, and his talk of the benefit of investment at Heathrow and Stansted Airports, the Channel Tunnel High Speed Link and London Crossrail will mean little to many Scottish businesses facing rising transport and energy costs."

Gavin Hewitt, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive

"Scottish distillers are astonished by the chancellor's announcement.

"A tax rise is a blow to international competitiveness when the industry has been investing significantly to meet growing global demand for Scotch Whisky."

Jack Law, Alcohol Focus Scotland

"Alcohol Focus Scotland welcomes the increase in duty on beers, wines, ciders and spirits announced by the chancellor.

"But we believe that the cost of alcoholic drinks should be related to strength and taxes should be designed to achieve this."

David Mundell MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland

"This is a bad news budget, particularly for Scotland, which didn't even merit a specific mention, and especially for our whisky industry.

"At a time when there is great uncertainty in the world economy and other countries are cutting taxes to stimulate growth, it is wrong to be increasing the tax burden on Scottish families by 110 and potentially devastating a 2.5bn export industry."

Patrick Harvie MSP, Scottish Green Party

"This government has a dismal record on the environment and on social justice, yet they are desperate to pretend they have today delivered a 'green budget'.

"It amounts to a handful of superficial efforts to cover up for a government and a party which remain committed to business as usual, and not in a good way."

Iain McMillan, director of CBI Scotland

"We did not expect a bonanza for business from the chancellor's budget and so it proved.

"However, more positively, there appears to be no new taxes on business but we do feel that more could have been done to rebuild confidence in the government's business credentials."

Grahame Smith, general secretary of the STUC

"The Budget has not addressed that unacceptable truth that low paid workers continue to pay a disproportionately high percentage of their very modest incomes in taxation.

"Indeed, the rises announced in various elements of indirect taxation will hit the low paid especially hard."





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