Scotland

  • A ‘Tony Benn’ approach to industrial policy, a ‘Boris Bridge’ to Ireland and the jump in unemployment the highest in the UK September, 2019

    The Scottish government’s fondness for 1970s ‘Tony Benn’ style interventions has been exposed by the Auditor General for Scotland in her 2018/19 audit of the Scottish Government’s accounts. Taxpayers have had to write off nearly £140m in loans and guarantees largely to private companies. They include a £45m loan to the Ferguson shipyard on the Clyde, a £21m guarantee repayment fee from Liberty Steel and a taxpayer loan of £37m to the BiFab fabrication company, which is now valued at £2m. Additionally loans of £33m to keep Prestwick Airport afloat are now worthless. The auditor general Caroline Gardner also criticised budgeting at Holyrood, saying there was a lack of detail in the budget plans set out by Scottish ministers, who are taking ‘a step backwards’ with the amount of information they are making available in terms of financial reporting. The design and build of a new generation of Royal Navy frigates has been won by engineering firm Babcock. The £1.25bn contract for the five Type 31s secures hundreds of jobs at Rosyth in Fife. At £250m, the Type 31 ‘Lidl’ warship is a smaller, cheaper frigate than the Type 26 warships currently being built on the Clyde which are c£1bn each....