Autumn Statement: Shovel at the ready

George Osborne in the Commons Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement in the Commons

It is, apparently, still autumn. This thought will undoubtedly console Scots commuters as they dig out their cars from the snow tomorrow or dust down their wellies for the trudge to the bus stop.

Officially, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness persists until December 20, the equinox. I can only say of such officials that they have plainly never experienced December in Braemar.

Still, autumn it is - and hence the Chancellor has just delivered his Autumn Statement. Much of the tenor was in keeping with the actual prevailing climate rather than the notional season.

Growth down, debt target missed, an extra year of austerity. Still, George Osborne contrived to deliver his statement with a degree of chutzpah and theatre which provoked more than the occasional cheer from his back benches.

The British economy, he insisted, was healing. It was just taking rather longer. Some, he said, had been calling for the fuel duty increase to be postponed. Dramatic pause. It was to be scrapped altogether.

Capital spending

At Westminster and Holyrood, the customary blend of mixed reaction. Tories and Liberal Democrats talked up the scheduled reductions in the annual deficit - together with the cut in corporation tax and moves to take the lowest paid out of income tax.

Labour excoriated those missed targets and argued that the poor were being made to pay for problems that were not of their creation.

Understandably, John Swinney, the SNP Finance Secretary, was directly interested in the new resources available to Scotland - a net £331m over two years made up of £394m more in capital moderated by a cut in revenue.

The capital expenditure was welcome, he said. Very welcome. He had his shovel at the ready to give the go-ahead to infrastructure projects.

Just a pity, he added, that his advice to advance such projects had not been heeded at an earlier stage.

Brian Taylor Article written by Brian Taylor Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

Johann Lamont resignation: A leader without influence

Johann Lamont's going was not inevitable, in that someone can always fight and she could have withstood the sniping that was coming her way from individual backbenchers, but she felt she had been let down by the leadership more generally.

Read full article

More on This Story

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • HouseboatLife on the water

    Could a floating house be the home of the future? The BBC's Adam Shaw takes a look

Programmes

  • The Audi RS7Click Watch

    Tech news review of the week including a speed record for a self-driving car

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.