A budget for a fairer Scotland

Ahead of this week’s Scottish budget, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay sets out how, despite challenging circumstances, he will deliver a budget for a fairer Scotland. 

This week I will set out Scotland’s budget for the year ahead. But I will do so in the most challenging circumstances we have faced since devolution.

It’s now seven years since the Westminster government began its programme of austerity cuts. By end of the decade, the money made available to Scotland for public services will have been cut by £2.6 billion in real terms since 2010.

Last month’s UK budget confirmed that the funding we can spend on things like schools and hospitals will fall by half a billion in real terms over two years.

And that’s before the damaging impact of Brexit.

The reckless Tory decision to leave the Single Market will seefunding available for public services in Scotland fall by up to £3.7 billion per year. To put that in context, that’s more than double the annual budget for our universities and colleges.

We’ve seen just this week that the UK government is preparing to spend up to £40 billion just to leave the EU. Scotland’s schools and hospitals shouldn’t have to pay the price for a damaging Brexit we didn’t vote for.

The price of a bad deal, or no deal at all, won’t just be paid by the public purse – it’ll hit household budgets too. Prices are going up and the UK faces the longest fall in living standards since records began.

In this context, we will act to protect Scotland.

The budget I will present to parliament this week will invest in public services, protect our economy and deliver greater fairness.

It’ll be a budget that puts more money into our NHS, provides new support for businesses and raises public sector pay.

A budget to deliver a better future for our children by raising attainment in our schools and transforming early years’ education.

And a budget that shows global leadership on climate change, protecting our environment for generations to come.

The challenges we face in achieving our ambitions for Scotland are considerable but I am determined that we will rise to them and deliver the fairer country we all want to see.