Scotland may have to rethink free university places pledge

The Scottish government could be forced to reconsider spending pledges to provide free university places and free personal care for older people in light of a squeeze on payments from the United Kingdom Treasury over the next two years, according to analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), writes Phillip Inman for The Guardian.

The think tank said the Scottish National Party (SNP) administration would face “difficult trade-offs” if it pursued plans to increase health spending and meet net zero climate targets from a budget adjusted for inflation that is on course to shrink. It said other public services could be required to cut about 13% from their budgets between 2023 and 2027 if the health and climate policies remained in place.

The SNP government’s assumptions that the income of Scottish households and businesses will grow at a faster rate than their English counterparts over the next five years, boosting tax revenues by more than Westminster forecasts, also put Scotland’s planned spending at risk, according to the IFS.
Full report on The Guardian site