Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP set out his 2019-2020 budget in the Scottish Parliament, which prepares Scotland’s economy for the opportunities of the future, enables the transformation of essential public services, and builds a more inclusive and just society.
It does so in the context of continuing UK austerity, which has reduced the Scottish Government’s resource block grant by £2 billion in real terms over the last decade and against a backdrop of a UK Government careering toward any Brexit, regardless of the cost.
Commenting after Mr Mackay’s announcement, Stuart McMillan MSP said:
“Whilst the UK Government is mired in further Brexit chaos, the Scottish Government has been getting on with the day job.
“Despite the difficult position the Finance Secretary finds himself in, he is proposing a budget that not only delivers on public services and economic investment, but also mitigates the risks of Brexit as best as he possibly can.
“This budget delivers an extra £730m in health spending and an additional £500m to expand early learning and childcare as the Scottish Government seeks to almost double the number of hours of funded childcare by 2020.
“It also sets aside £20m to support export businesses in the face of Brexit, and proposes to deliver a below-inflation cap on business rate increases, ensuring that more than 90 per cent of properties in Scotland will pay a lower poundage than they would in other parts of the UK.
“On top of this, Mr Mackay’s budget backs schools, teachers and pupils with more than £180m in raising attainment in schools, including £120m of Pupil Equity Fund money, and looks to support Scotland’s young people to fulfil their potential with £12m of support for mental health provision in our schools. It also invests £600 million in colleges and maintains investment of over £1bn in universities to develop Scotland’s future talent and innovation.
“I am also delighted that Mr MacKay proposes to increase the local government settlement to over £11.1bn.
“At a time when the political context this SNP Scottish Government finds itself in is as insecure and instable as ever, it is proving its clear commitment to protecting Scotland’s public services, closing the attainment gap in our schools, and supporting businesses ahead of Brexit.”