Finance Secretary Derek Mackay today unveiled a budget for growth and public services as he announced new investment in healthcare, education and local services, combined with support for jobs through lower business rates.
Introducing his first Draft Budget, Derek Mackay unveiled a programme to improve public services, maintain and support jobs and ease the financial burden on families, including:
• An additional £304 million in funding for the NHS, £120 million above inflation and a major step towards our commitment to an extra £500 million above inflation over this Parliament.
• £120 million for schools to use at their discretion to close the attainment gap - £20 million more than previously announced - funded from SNP Government resources.
• Support for jobs by extending the number of business premises that pay no business rates through the Small Business Bonus Scheme to 100,000 and cutting the Business Rate Poundage by 3.7% for all business properties.
• Over £240 million of additional spending power to support local government services, with all revenues raised locally being spent locally by councils.
• Protection of the police revenue budget for policing.
• £60 million of investment in the workforce and infrastructure necessary to begin the radical and ambitious expansion in the provision of free early learning and childcare entitlement to 1,140 hours by the end of this Parliament.
The Finance Secretary also announced investment in new and existing infrastructure projects, to support sustainable economic growth including: • Completing the Queensferry Crossing. • Over £470 million of direct capital investment to deliver 50,000 affordable homes.
• Over £140 million for Energy Efficiency programmes to help us deliver our climate change targets.
• Over £100 million investment in digital and mobile infrastructure, to improve digital connectivity, grow Scotland’s digital economy and increase digital participation, including support to deliver 100% broadband access by 2021.
Mr Mackay said:
“Today I have published a Budget for growth and public services; for our environment and our communities. It delivers increased investment in education, record investment in the NHS, protects low income households from tax hikes and supports more and better jobs.
“This Budget provides support for the economy, for jobs and for household incomes, through a fair and balanced set of tax and spending proposals.
“Closing the attainment gap, reducing child poverty and ensuring equality of access to higher education, will generate long term benefits for our economy and public finances. That is why we are prioritising education and providing the resources to match. From birth and the earliest years, through school and beyond, education is our number one priority.
“The plans I have set out exercise our new powers responsibly, marking a significant step in the history of the Scottish Parliament. It is a Budget that holds fast to our programme and that delivers on our commitments.”
More information on the Draft Budget 2017-18 can be found here.