Scottish Budget 2021: driving Scotland’s COVID recovery

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has introduced the Scottish Government’s Budget for 2021-22 – setting out record investment, supporting our COVID recovery, and delivering the most progressive package anywhere in the UK.

Here’s a brief summary of how the Budget helps tackle the ongoing pandemic, while setting the ground for a fairer, stronger recovery.

Record high health funding

Across Scotland, our inspirational NHS and care workers have been the backbone of our fight against COVID.

To ensure our NHS is stronger and protected into the future, we’re investing a record £16 billion in health – a 5.3% increase from last year’s Budget, far exceeding our manifesto commitment.

This includes investment in primary care of £1.9 billion to help deliver more services in the community.

What’s more, we’ve introduced a £500 thank-you payment to recognise the heroic efforts of NHS and social care staff.

£1.1 billion investment in mental health

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on mental health, and this Budget delivers increased investment in mental health services – over £1.1 billion.

This will allow our continued improvement of mental health support for children, young people and adults – prioritising access to support and care.

We’re working hard to implement our Mental Health Transition and Recovery Plan, published in October 2020, which set out over 100 actions we are taking to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Additional £869 million to ramp up COVID response

We’re investing an extra £869 million to step up the efforts to tackle the pandemic – including Test and Protect, outbreak management, and the vaccination programme.

This additional funding builds on our record level of health spending, so we can ensure NHS services can resume smoothly, and to properly support frontline services in responding to the unprecedented challenges of COVID.

£883 million for social care, with Living Wage funding

The £883 million funding package for social care will allow us to continue investing in a world-class social care system – including free personal care to all those who need it.

We’re also investing £34 million to support delivery of the Living Wage, and we’re developing proposals to embed Fair Work principles in social care.

We have also established an independent review of adult social care, paving the way for the creation of a new National Care Service in Scotland.

Funding a national council tax freeze

To ease the increasing pressure on family finances, we’re providing local councils with an additional £90 million to freeze the council tax.

This is on top of the £11.6 billion settlement for local government – ensuring that while council tax bills don’t go up, vital local services will not be impacted.

The fairest tax deal anywhere in the UK

While we’re delivering extra investment for our public services, the Budget ensures that no Scottish taxpayer will pay more income tax in 2021-22 than they do now on their current income.

For a fourth consecutive year, more than half of Scottish income taxpayers will pay less tax than if they lived anywhere else in the UK – while getting the best value for money from free tuition fees, free personal care, free prescriptions, and more.

Driving Scotland’s green recovery and delivering thousands of good, new jobs

We’re working hard to implement our national mission for new, good, green jobs – backed up by £1.1 jobs funding.

It will also help to equip Scotland’s future workforce with the skills they need – including an additional £125 million of investment targeted at employment support, such as our Young Person’s Guarantee.