THE UK Government has “picked the pocket of the health service” in Scotland, with funding £55 million lower than promised, MSPs have been told.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, pictured, right, said the UK’s budget allocation of the Barnett formula for health for 2019-20 fell short of what she was told Scotland would get.

She said the Scottish Government has made up the shortfall, but this will put further strain on other parts of the budget. Freeman agreed with George Adam MSP, who said: “It’s almost as if Westminster has picked the pocket of the health service to the tune of £55m.”

Freeman told the Health and Sport Committee that spending on the two areas is forecast to be in excess of £14 billion. This “includes a further shift on the balance of spend towards mental health and to social and community care”.

Freeman also said the Scottish Government was using £392m to help reduce waiting times.