• STV
  • MySTV

SNP questions budget of 'zombie department' Scotland Office

Margaret Ferrier MP pointed out the increasing devolution of responsibilities to Holyrood.

Scotland Office: MP dubs it 'zombie department'.
Scotland Office: MP dubs it 'zombie department'.

An SNP MP has demanded to know why the Scotland Office "requires such an enormous increase in its budget" after receiving an almost 20% rise in the past five years.

Margaret Ferrier claims the increasing devolution of responsibilities from Westminster to Holyrood has left the Scotland Office a "zombie department" and questions the need for extra money.

Figures show the Scotland Office real terms budget, excluding non-voted election expenditure, has increased for three out of five years since 2012/13.

The 2016/17 budget is an 0.4% reduction and it fell by 2.8% in 2013/14 but the remaining increases, including a 14.4% increase in 2015/16, have led to a 19.9% cumulative increase since 2012/13.

At the same time, the SNP said the real terms Scottish Government budget, excluding council tax benefit, landfill tax, stamp duty land tax, Scottish rate of income tax and the £800m capital budget increase pledged by the UK Government in the 2016 Autumn Statement, had led to a cumulative 1.9% decrease over the five years.

Earlier this year it emerged Scotland Office communications expenditure had more than doubled since 2011/12 to £426,223.

Ferrier, who represents Rutherglen and Hamilton West, said: "The Scotland Office has long been a zombie department with next to no responsibilities.

"And with more powers transferring to the Scottish government, as David Mundell so enjoys telling us, it would be interesting to hear his explanation for why his department requires such an enormous increase in its budget.

"We know that the budget for Mundell's army of spin doctors and publicity campaigns to promote the benefits of the union to the people of Scotland has more than doubled.

"Perhaps he needs the extra help in trying to devise a believable reason for why he has U-turned on the single market and why he believes the people of Scotland should suffer Brexit despite not voting for it.

"At a time when households are being told by Tories to tighten their belts, and Scotland's budget which pays for public services is being cut so savagely to the tune of £2.6bn by 2019/20, people are entitled to ask just what David Mundell has done to deserve his budget boost and what is he spending it all on?"

A UK government spokeswoman said: "This year the Scotland Office has ensured the successful passage of the Scotland Act, making the Scottish Parliament one of the most powerful devolved governments in the world.

"It is right we are resourced for the challenges in 2017 as we continue to deliver the remaining powers as well as making sure we get the best deal for Scotland and the whole of the UK as we leave the EU."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.