The Scottish budget for the next year has been passed by the Scottish Parliament. Here’s what the SNP budget means for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
£400 million more for our NHS and more money direct to schools
The Tory government at Westminster has cut the budget available for public services in Scotland by half a billion over the next two years. By choosing a fairer path on taxation we are protecting Scotland’s cherished public services.
The budget will ensure:
- record health spending of over £13.1 billion, with NHS Grampian receiving over £920 million in the next financial year;
- over £5.7 million going direct to schools in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to tackle the attainment gap between pupils from the least and most wealthy backgrounds;
- protection for the frontline police budget and ensuring our emergency services keep VAT savings;
- an real terms increase in day to day spending on local council services in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire; and
- investment of almost a quarter of a billion in our plan to near double provision of childcare and early years education.
Seven in ten income taxpayers paying less than they are paying this year
Changes to Income Tax will make Scotland the fairest taxed part of the UK, with the majority of taxpayers paying less than if they lived elsewhere in the UK. And compared to last year, everyone earning less than £33,000 will pay less.
Investing in schools, hospitals and roads in the North East
Investment will support:
- continued construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route;
- the A90/A96 Haudagain Junction Improvement scheme;
- the continued construction of Inverurie Health Care Hub, Forsterhill Health Centre, Aberdeen Baird Family Hospital and ANCHOR Centre;
- progress towards the establishment of an elective treatment centre in Aberdeen;
- support for the construction of Lochside Academy and Stoneywood Primary School as well as progressing the construction of Inverurie Secondary School; and
- the Aberdeen to Inverness rail improvement project.
An end to the one per cent public sector pay cap
Next year we will deliver a minimum 3 per cent pay rise for public servants earning less than £36,500 – 75 per cent of public sector workers. For those earning more than £36,500 will receive a 2 per cent rise and a cash cap will be put in place on increases for those earning more than £80,000.
New investment to ensure Scotland is the best place to do business and invest
To grow the North East economy, we will:
- continue to invest in the Aberdeen City Region Deal;
- invest an extra £100 million to deliver the best business rates package in UK;
- continue the cap on business rates for offices in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire offices in all but the very largest hospitality properties;
- increase investment in business research and development by 70 per cent;
- set aside £340 million for a National Investment Bank with a new £150 million Building Scotland Fund; and
- begin procurement of the £600 million programme to deliver superfast broadband to all homes and premises.
Maintaining the social contract, ensuring Scottish taxpayers get the best deal anywhere in the UK
With the cost of living rising, our commitment to a social contract with the people of Scotland is more important than ever. This budget will continue to fully fund an NHS free at the point of need; maintain free university tuition; and free personal and nursing care.
To strengthen the social contract this budget will:
- implement Frank’s Law, providing free personal care to those who need it;
- increase Carers Allowance;
- provide free access to sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities;
- and continue to provide all babies with a Baby Box of essential items for their first weeks and months.
New action to fight poverty and inequality
To build a fairer Scotland, this budget will:
- invest £756 million towards our pledge to build 50,000 affordable homes in this Parliamentary term;
- begin investment of the £50 million End Homelessness Together Fund;
- begin investment of the £50 million Child Poverty Fund; and
- maintaining £100 million a year investment to mitigate welfare cuts, including fully mitigating the Bedroom Tax.