THE Scottish Government has announced £680 million in cuts ahead of the UK Government Autumn Budget statement on Wednesday.

Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, is expected to announce increased sanctions on benefits claimants and reducing taxes on income, inheritance and businesses.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison, speaking in the Scottish Parliament chamber, blamed “Westminster austerity” for the cuts and said the Scottish Government was doing all it could “within the limited powers we have”.

Robison said the Government had prioritised public services, but that “these come at a cost”.

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A total of £10.5m is to be cut from the Future Transport Fund, in addition to £30m from the Energy Industries Capital Program, £3m from Marine Scotland, £6m from Forestry and Land Scotland, and £28m from agricultural budgets.

Robison said announcing the cuts was “exceptionally difficult”, but that they were “necessary to protect services where they are needed the most”.

She confirmed that the funding cuts would be reallocated “in future years”, blaming Westminster for the decision.

“This challenge is a result of prolonged Westminster austerity and is not unique to Scotland,” said Robison, pointing towards other devolved governments such as the Welsh Assembly.

Robison said she and the Welsh Finance Minister had written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking for increased funding.

Robison continued: “We’re doing all we can within the limited powers we have.

“The response to these calls so far has been, at best, insufficient.”

She criticised the UK Government over plans to push benefit claimants into work and said the Scottish Government did not support such an approach as it “does not work”.

Robison added that the UK Government had not communicated with Holyrood about potential tax cuts which may be announced on Wednesday and said that the Scottish Government favoured investment in public services over tax cuts.