CSR analysis - Nations

Cuts put more pressure on local authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The comprehensive spending review has hit Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hard. The Treasury estimated that money paid out to Scotland will fall by £0.9bn, although the Scottish finance secretary reckoned that he will have £1.3bn less to spend next year.

The Welsh Assembly Government will lose £400m a year - 7.5 per cent will be cut from revenue budgets and 41 per cent from capital expenditure. In Northern Ireland, capital expenditure will be cut by 40 per cent. It is estimated that Northern Ireland could lose £2bn of its block grant.

Commenting on the impact in Scotland, Growthforth managing director Stan Green said: "It's early days, but the situation is looking pretty grim. The capital expenditure will be very important."

He added: "At the moment people are very reluctant to build anything, so our sales to landscapers are down. We don't think things will be disastrous, but we can't see any signs of a quick improvement."

Green suggested that innovations such as the Green Bank, which the Government hopes will encourage more money to be put into environmental research, could be a real opportunity. He also said schemes to encourage adult apprenticeships could help the industry.

Pentland Plants owner David Spray was more upbeat. "We'd been led to believe that the cuts would be far more stringent. I think we've got off lightly," he said.

Meanwhile, the National Trust for Scotland was adopting a wait-and-see attitude. A representative said: "The Scottish Parliament will be having its own budget in a few weeks time. Only after that will we really understand the situation."

Scottish local authorities were left facing increased pressures following the spending review because plans for new one-year budgets will leave them with a £630m shortfall. In addition, the plans for one-year budgets to replace the former three-year budgets will leave the local authorities unable to plan for the future.

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