Police Scotland is still being underfunded despite extra cash being found as part of the Scottish Government’s budget deal, the Tories have said.
Revised spending plans, drawn up by SNP ministers in conjunction with Scottish Greens, will result in an extra £60 million for the force next year.
The total budget for Police Scotland in 2020-21 will rise to more than £1.2 billion, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said, hailing it as a “very, very good settlement indeed”.
That was after an additional £15 million was found for the force’s day-to-day spending requirements, along with a further £5 million for capital spending.
But Liam Kerr, the Scottish Conservatives justice spokesman, said increased spending on policing south of the border – where PM Boris Johnson has promised to recruit an extra 20,000 officers for England and Wales – would lead to almost £100 million extra coming to Scotland.
He criticised the Scottish Government for choosing not to pass all of this cash on to police north of the border.
Mr Kerr told Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf: “Despite this new deal he is still short-changing the police, given he has an extra £96 million in Barnett consequentials coming.”
He said the additional cash for policing was not enough for Conservatives to support the Scottish Government’s budget.
The Tory told MSPs a lack of cash to maintain Police Scotland’s buildings – the majority of which are more than 40 years old – meant there were problems such as “mould, leak and rat infestations” at police stations.
Mr Kerr said: “In choosing to underfund Police Scotland in the budget, the SNP is undermining our police.
“It is the SNP’s choice not to fund improvements to police stations, police equipment or maintain police numbers.
“It is the SNP’s choice to risk hindering the police’s ability to investigate crimes and risk leaving the people of Scotland and police officers less safe.
“It is the SNP’s choice to leave officers and staff stressed and overworked and under-resourced.”
Mr Yousaf told MSPs the overall police budget would now rise by 5.1% in 2020-21 – with the cash for capital spending up by almost 30%.
He told MSPs the Scottish Government had invested more than £9 billion in policing since 2013.
“Remarkably this has been achieved against a backdrop of a decade of austerity led by the Conservative Government,” the Justice Secretary said.
He added the budget deal would mean “Police Scotland has the money it requires to maintain officer numbers at current levels, recognising the unprecedented events Police Scotland will be dealing with this financial year”.
This includes the prospect of a no-deal Brexit and the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow in November.
Labour’s James Kelly said Police Scotland still needed more cash for its capital budget, which pays for improvements to police buildings and vehicles.
Pressing the Justice Secretary, Mr Kelly said: “How, in any way, can he describe the capital budget allocation as adequate when the police told us it was £56 million short, so an additional £5 million is not going to address the fundamental issues around this capital budget?”
Liberal Democrat Liam McArthur said the force was in a “dire financial position”.
Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone welcomed the additional funding.
“While financial challenges remain, I recognise this is a significant increase in our allocation at a time of competing demands,” he said.
“I will continue to drive forward improvements, particularly to address the shortcomings in estate and ICT we inherited from legacy arrangements.
“Police Scotland has already returned around £200m of annual savings to the public purse while at the same time maintaining responsive and visible policing and transforming how we deal with serious crime and major incidents.”