Scottish budget brings 5000 jobs boost

The SNP Government's budget plans for next year will deliver a 5000 jobs boost.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the budget will help the country weather the economic storm, protect jobs and boost prospects for a strong recovery.

Speaking as he set out the budget and plans to bring forward £230 million of infrastructure spending Mr Swinney said;

"This is a budget to support economic recovery.

"It will generate work, support jobs - 4,700 in total on the basis of these detailed plans - and keep the Scottish economy moving."

"In our Economic Strategy and during the last spending review this Government put increasing sustainable economic growth at the heart of everything we do.

"That was the right decision for Scotland then and this is the right budget for Scotland now.

"As we begin to feel the full effects of the downturn, it is the choices we made 14 months ago and are intensifying now that mean tens of thousands of small businesses will pay no business rates at all from April.

"It is our foresight that put in place the resources to freeze the hated council tax - providing vital relief for hard pressed bill payers when tough economic conditions mean they need it the most.

"This money will help improve roads, build schools and deliver major infrastructure projects"

Welcoming the plans SNP MSP Alex Neil said;

"This budget provides essential support to businesses as business rates are slashed with over 120,000 small firms having their rates reduced to zero next year under the SNP.

"Families will welcome the continued support for a council tax freeze, investment in affordable housing, energy efficiency, more police on our streets and a further cut in prescription charges to end this tax on ill health.

"On top of that funding for local government continues to rise from the final years of Labour and Lib Dem government. This boost at a local level will again help increase investment to stave off the worst of Downing Street's downturn.

"With investment in building colleges and health centres, new dental clinics and the Edinburgh biuoquarter this is good news for Scotland.

"The SNP Government is delivering for the people of Scotland in these tough economic times and I hope all parties will support this essential investment in Scotland's economy and public services."

Further details of the Scottish budget can be found at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2009/01/09095542

  • Scottish Enterprise to accelerate investment of £30 million on strategic infrastructure projects. Although precise details are yet to be finalised, supported projects are likely to include the SECC Arena in Glasgow; additional work on the Fife Energy Park; and infrastructure works on the Edinburgh Bio-Quarter
  • Road projects including £4 million for improvements and dualling the A75 from Cairntop to Barlae and previously announced projects such as the Fochabers bypass and on work on the A9 at Moy, Carrbridge and Bankfoot
  • In conjunction with SPT, accelerating the delivery of strategic Park & Ride projects between Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire and Glasgow
  • £50 million brought forward for the NHS to ensure vital capital projects go ahead despite the current slowdown in sales of surplus NHS land and property, including new Dental Centres in Cumnock, Ayr, Campbeltown and Inverness and the new Foresterhill Health Centre in Aberdeen
  • As previously announced, local authorities are contributing to the overall effort by accelerating a number of their capital spending programmes. Discussions are ongoing with COSLA on this and further details will be confirmed in due course
  • £10 million brought forward for affordable housing in 2009-10 as well as £5 million to tackle fuel poverty. This is on top of the £10 million brought forward to this year immediately following the Pre Budget Report and the announcement made in August that up to £100 million of affordable housing investment would be brought forward to this year and next, with up to £40 million contributed by local government
  • £13 million of accelerated spend in 2009-10 will be invested in colleges and universities across Scotland to create and maintain modern, state-of-the-art facilities where people can get the skills and qualifications they need to get into work, remain in work and contribute to Scotland's economic future

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