Scotland politics

Budget 2013: Scottish reaction to Osborne statement

Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his Budget with a promise that the "economic medicine is working".

He is cutting corporation tax to 20% and freezing petrol duty rises. The Tory coalition minister has also cancelled alcohol duty rises, cut beer by 1p a pint and unveiled measures to boost the housing market.

Mr Osborne added that Scotland would get an extra £176m over the next two years.

The business community, charities and unions have been reacting to the Budget.

CBI Scotland

The organisation broadly welcomed the Budget, saying it contained a number of "solid growth-enhancing measures" such as the shift of money from current to capital expenditure.

Assistant director David Lonsdale said: "Several important tax reductions were announced which will make it less costly for firms to hire staff and easier for them to access finance, and which will boost private sector investment in areas such as energy and housing.

"The further planned reduction in corporation tax to 20% is significant and encouraging, especially as retained profits will play a bigger role in financing firms' future investment plans given the constraints on traditional lending."

Scottish Building Federation

It said it welcomed plans to target additional funding towards "shovel-ready" construction projects but criticised the chancellor for not introducing a "targeted" cut in VAT on building repair and maintenance works to stimulate smaller-scale building activity.

Executive director Michael Levack said: "The commitment to prioritise an additional £300m towards capital investment in Scotland is welcome.

"But considering that Scottish construction output fell by more than £1.1bn last year alone, it is clear that more could and should be done to support the industry."

Margaret Curran, Shadow Scottish secretary

"The chancellor has failed all his key tests. Before the election, he said he was going to get the deficit and debt down, and he said we'd get growth back.

"But we now know that the deficit and debt are going up, not down. And the growth projection has been halved since his last prediction in December."

Homes for Scotland

The trade body called on the Scottish government to "pick up the gauntlet" on the issue of people wanting to but their own homes.

Chief Executive Philip Hogg, said: "The chancellor today demonstrated that he understands the difficulties facing home buyers and our industry, and that he is prepared to act to address them in order to break out of the current economic deadlock.

"We have been calling for enhancements to the Scottish government's shared equity scheme for some time and now urgently need an equivalent commitment north of the border to ensure that households right across the UK enjoy similar support and Scotland is not disadvantaged in relation to attracting investment."

Scottish Greens

Green MSP Patrick Harvie, said: The chancellor continues to offer the wrong medicine for our broken economy.

"Greens believe that we need a recovery made by the many not the few, but unlike Labour we know that means opposing the damaging freeze on public sector pay and the cruel bedroom tax.

Unison

Scotland's biggest public-sector union described the Budget as a "broken record of missed targets and broken hopes".

Scottish secretary Mike Kirby, said: "This is a budget of the rich for the rich who will gain from the removal of the 50p tax rate, and for those of the middle England stereotype who gain some small tax breaks.

"The announcement that the government will seek significant further savings through reforms to progression pay is another disgraceful attack on public service workers who are being punished for the sins of the bankers and the markets."

The Scottish Pensioners' Forum

The organisation claimed that the single tier pension scheme, confirmed in the Budget is "shambolic" and that a two tier state pension will still be in place for many pensioners.

Spokesman Eddie MacDonald sad: "Although our organisation has been campaigning for many years for an end to means testing, today's Budget announcement shows no end to that and is simply a clever way of disguising what will actually be in place for pensioners, a two tier pensions system by another name."

"This new pensions legislation will only apply to people of pensionable age from 2016 onwards, meanwhile the pensioners already condemned to poverty under the current system will continue to struggle to make ends meet through means testing, it's shambolic."