ALISTER Jack has said he “can’t think of anything in Scotland that has improved since 2007”.

Speaking to The Times, the Secretary of State for Scotland reflected upon his time in role as he prepares to stand down as an MP at the next General Election.

Despite new analysis showing that Scotland’s block grant is set to be the lowest percentage of UK Government spending since devolution, Jack claimed that public services in Scotland have been “very well funded” and criticised the leadership of the SNP. 

He said: “For me, it is regretful and sad that I can’t think of anything in Scotland that has improved since 2007, under the SNP.

“My experience would be that a lot of the decision-making has been through the prism of separation.

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“There’s been too much focus on that and not nearly enough focus on public services. which have been very well funded.

“Despite a record block grant, I feel that Scotland has probably not even flatlined since 2007 — it’s gone backwards.”

Earlier this week Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford told the UK Covid Inquiry that Tory ministers in the UK Government were “afraid” of confrontation with the “formidable” Nicola Sturgeon (below) during the pandemic.

However, after dismissing Sturgeon’s tears at the inquiry as insincere last month, Jack once again took aim at the former first minister’s handling of the pandemic.

“She didn’t unsettle me,” claimed Jack.

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“I said in the Covid inquiry, and I stand by what I said, that she used some of the decision-making politically.

“I felt there was an awful lot of being different just for the sake of it, trying to create this idea that we were four nations and very different, when we had a virus that didn’t respect boundaries.

“There were an awful lot of decisions that I think held the Scottish economy back.

“I travelled between London and Scotland every week, and I felt that once the vaccination was in place, there was more fear of Covid in Scotland than there was in other parts of the United Kingdom.

“And for the economy, that wasn’t a good thing.”

The comments come after former deputy first minister John Swinney said Jack, unlike other former Scotland Secretary’s, had been largely unhelpful in his role as a conduit between the UK and Scottish Governments.

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Appearing in-front of the UK Covid Inquiry, Swinney said: “In my experience of dealing with the current Secretary of State for Scotland – and I would not be saying this about his predecessor – he is not a help to get things resolved.

“His predecessor was. David Mundell was of enormous assistance in trying to get things sorted out.

“That’s not been my experience with the current Secretary of State for Scotland.”

Jack also told The Times that he had been offered other cabinet roles during his time as Scotland Secretary but turned them down.

“I have been offered other jobs in cabinet, and I have turned them down,” he said.

“Because I wanted to carry on doing the Scotland job. My passion is to strengthen the United Kingdom, and leave it stronger than how I found it. And I believe that will be the case.

“So it for me, it was about doing the Scotland office job, not about any old job in government.”

The SNP have been contacted for comment.