Speaking from the crowd during a BBC Debate Night in Edinburgh, an audience member blasted the Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman for laying the blame at the Conservatives’ feet for Scotland’s recent failure to contribute to the UK economy. Ms Chapman blamed former chancellor George Osborne for “stopping the gas supply” and not affording Scotland the “investment in renewables that we should have”. But the audience member retorted that Ms Chapman was ignoring the fact that the SNP came into power just one year before net contribution to the UK economy ceased.
The young man said: “I just find it interesting what Maggie Chapman was saying that Scotland was a net contributor up until 2008.
“I think we should consider that that was the first year after the SNP came into power.
“And perhaps she should stop blaming Westminster and start looking at the incredible economic and social mismanagement of the SNP.”
Earlier, Ms Chapman accused successive Conservative governments of “stifling” investments in Scotland.
She said: “Quite often people forget that up to 2008, Scotland was a net contributor to the net economy. It had always been a net contributor.
“In 2008 and subsequently from 2010 under a Tory government, it has been since then that that position has changed.
“We saw successive Conservative governments stifle our renewable energy investments. George Osborne stopped the gas supply that we are now paying the cost for in terms of gas volatility.
“But he also stopped onshore developments. We know we have not had the investment in renewables that we should have.”
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They said more work is required by the Scottish Government to demonstrate how the wide range of spending measures worked together to address the harms caused by the pandemic.
The Scottish Government managed its overall COVID-19 budget “effectively”, the report said, but some funding still remains unspent.
Some £15.5 billion was allocated for Scotland’s COVID-19 response between 2020-2022, of which an estimated £11.8 billion was spent between March 2020 and December 2021.
More than 300 announcements on COVID-19 spending were made at Holyrood between March 2020 and March 2022, Audit Scotland said.
Recommendations from the independent auditors include improving the transparency of public finances in order to support any scrutiny on funding and spending measures brought in to mitigate the pandemic’s impact, as well as reflecting on the financial decision-making processes.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “We will now carefully consider the Audit Scotland report and engage with relevant sectors to ensure that future decision-making is as informed as possible and best supports the people of Scotland.”