SNP's £33 billion budget approved by MSPs

The SNP Government's budget to boost Scotland's economy tonight won the support of the Scottish Parliament.

Labour and the Lib Dems withdrew their opposition as they acknowledge the error of their ways and accepted they should not play politics with people’s jobs.

Speaking after the budget debate Finance Secretary John Swinney said;

"Last year we passed a historic first Budget. This year we have faced the challenge of delivering spending plans to guide Scotland through an economic downturn and to maximise our potential for recovery.

"Working with Parliament the successful passage of the Budget Bill rises to the challenge of helping hard pressed businesses and households the length and breadth of Scotland.

"The Budget will support our economic recovery plan and includes vital measures such as the removal of businesses rates for tens of thousands of small businesses, the resources to enable councils to freeze council tax and a massive infrastructure investment programme which we will deliver working with our local government partners.

"We have also been able to take steps to invest crucial money in our town centres and in the skills of our workforce through increased modern apprenticeships. In the longer term we have agreed to take forward a Finance Sector Jobs Task Force within the context of the Financial Services Advisory Board, press the case for borrowing powers for Scotland for investment and conduct a joint strategic review of public spending in Scotland - all important measures for the long term health of our economy.

"This is a budget for economic recovery. Securing parliamentary approval is a significant step forward, but it is only the start of our task. Now we must drive forward the plans and ensure they deliver for the whole of Scotland."


The £33 billion budget delivers: -
  • Help for households to beat the credit cru nch, providing
    extra funding for councils to freeze the Council Tax for another
  • Another cut in the cost of single prescriptions from April,
    down from £5 to £4... with 12-month pre-payment certificates cut by £10 to
  • Business rates for 120,000 small businesses will be
    abolished, helping shops and local firms cut costs and protect jobs in these
    tough times.
  • £230 million of accelerated infrastructure spending to keep
    the Scottish economy moving and support 4,700 jobs.
  • Extra funds to help train 1,000 additional police officers, to put more bobbies
    on the beat and improve safety on our streets.
  • £15 million to help provide home insulation for 90,000 homes
    - targeted on those most in need.
  • £16 million to
    recruit 18,500 new apprentices.
  • £300 million more for the NHS.
  • £70 million
    more to invest in affordable housing.
  • £60 million more
    for town centre renewal.
  • £40 million more in funding
    for free personal care for the elderly.
  • A total of £1.8 billion in additional expenditure - securing
    a total of 35,000 jobs!

SNP MSP for Dundee West Joe Fitzpatrick welcomed the opposition parties decision to stop playing games with people's jobs and to back the budget;

"Tonight’s vote is a welcome recognition from Labour and the Liberals of the error of their ways.

“The UK Labour Government’s irresponsible economic management put Scotland’s economy into this position - last week their irresponsibility endangered moves to support Scottish families and business.

“In contrast the SNP’s responsible approach to supporting Scotland’s economy has received overwhelming support from the public – and finally – from the Parliament

“With increased investment to support 5000 jobs, abolition of business rates, a town centre fund, increased home insulation, support for apprentices and a freeze on the council tax the SNP’s responsible actions will meet Scotland’s needs through Labour’s recession.

“The decision of Labour and the Lib Dems to accept a deal this week that could have been on offer last week offers a valuable lesson for those who played politics with people’s jobs."

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