Scottish Budget 2023-24: all you need to know

While Westminster pursues damaging policies that crashed the economy, hurt the most vulnerable and sent the UK to the bottom of the G7 growth league, we are choosing a different path for Scotland.

This Scottish Budget comes at an economically turbulent time, where difficult choices need to be made – but the SNP Scottish Government is choosing to invest in a fairer society and do away with Westminster’s failed austerity model.

This Budget relentlessly focuses on lifting children out of poverty, continuing our world leading action to reach Net Zero, properly funding our public services, and much more.

Here’s a handy summary, with all the key takeaways from the 2023-24 Scottish Budget.

Edinburgh skyline with Holyrood park

Delivering the Scottish Child Payment – a unique benefit not available in the rest of the UK

We’re continuing to take bold action towards our aim of reducing inequality and eradicating child poverty – which has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

To help do that, we have rolled out the Scottish Child Payment – the most ambitious anti-poverty measure anywhere in the UK, labelled as a “game-changer” by charities.

Within just 8 months in 2022, we have increased it by 150% – from £10 to £25 per child per week.

We have also extended eligibility to all those aged under 16, meaning the benefit is now available to around 387,000 children.

Delivering stronger support for families

The cost-of-living crisis is placing significant strains on families and households across the country.

To help families with rising costs, while progressing with our mission to eradicate child poverty, we’re:

  • Uprating all of the devolved benefits by the September rate of inflation – 10.1% – at a cost of £428 million.
  • Extending the Fuel Insecurity Fund into 2023-24, which will provide a lifeline for thousands of households against rising energy prices.
  • Investing a further £42 million in holiday food provision and expanding our support for school age childcare.
  • Providing a further £30 million to Keep The Promise to our care-experienced children and young people.
  • Progressing with the expansion of universal free school meals by providing £80 million of capital funding.

Delivering a Just Transition to reach Net Zero, while tackling fuel poverty

Scotland was one of the first countries to declare a climate emergency, and we have been committed to using all powers and resources at our disposal – leading the world on climate justice, climate targets and the Just Transition.

To build a stronger, fairer, greener economy benefits everyone living in Scotland, we’re:

  • Investing £50 million in the Just Transition Fund for the North East and Moray – more than doubling the 2022-23 allocation, helping to diversify the regional economy away from carbon intensive industries and into Net Zero.
  • Maintaining, improving and decarbonising Scotland’s rail network, with £1.4 billion of investment.
  • Making heating our buildings more efficient and help tackle fuel poverty – part of our £1.8bn investment to decarbonise a million Scottish homes by 2030.
  • Scaling up our annual target of planting woodlands and restoring peatlands.

Delivering a stronger NHS we can all rely on

Our NHS is a precious resource that must always be available for all of us, and we’re determined to make the most significant investment we can in order to support the NHS to meet the challenges of today.

By increasing the medium and the top rates of income tax by a penny, we’re delivering extra investment for the NHS – on top of the record high health spending in Scotland already.

In this Budget, we’re:

  • Supporting our NHS health boards with over £13 billion, which will allow them to continue to drive forward our five year NHS Recovery Plan.
  • Investing £2 billion to establish and improve primary health care services in the community.
  • Providing £1.7 billion for social care and integration, while paving the way for the introduction of the National Care Service.
  • Delivering the £10.90 real living wage for adult social care, with an additional £100 million investment, building on the increase provided in 2022-23.