The Scottish budget: what it means for workers

The Scottish Government has set out its budget plans for the year ahead.

The Draft Budget includes new investment in public services, as well as new measures to support business, jobs and economic growth.

Here’s why the Scottish budget means workers get the best deal anywhere in the UK.

  • We have frozen the basic rate of Income Tax, ensuring that the burden of austerity is not passed on to lower and middle income taxpayers.

  • The Scottish Government will continue to pay all staff within its pay policy, including NHS staff, the Scottish Living Wage. And an additional £107 million funding will ensure the Scottish Living Wage for care workers.

  • A £3 million investment will bring down costs for rail users. This will give monthly and annual rail season ticket holders one week’s free travel.

  • The budget will support the implementation of our new Labour Market Strategy and our youth employment strategy.

  • We will use new powers over employability schemes to establish the £5 million Work Able Scotland programme – helping up to 1,500 people with health conditions find work.

  • We will support an estimated 30,000 jobs by delivering a £4 billion investment in our infrastructure. The next year will also see the completion of major projects like the Queensferry Crossing, the AWPR and the M8/M74/M73 improvements.

  • We will support jobs by cutting Business Rates. The extension of the Small Business Bonus Scheme will lift 100,000 small and medium sized business properties out of Business Rates altogether.

  • To support more businesses – particularly start-up companies – with the potential to grow and export more, the new Scottish Growth Scheme will provide up to £500 million over three years of investment guarantees and some loans.

  • Skills, training and employment in Scotland will be supported by a £221 million investment. And, 2017-18 will see the next stage of our expansion to 30,000 Modern Apprenticeship new starts a year.

  • We will continue to work with employers and trade unions to promote fair work practices, including through the Scottish Business Pledge. There are now over 75,000 people employed by businesses covered by the pledge, which commits employers to policies including payment of the Living Wage and not using exploitative zero hours contracts.

  • The Scottish Government has set out clear ambitions to keep Scotland in the European Single Market – protecting our economy, jobs and workers’ rights. A Tory hard Brexit, outside the single market, could cost Scotland 80,000 jobs over a decade and could cut wages by an average of £2,000.

  • We will establish a Women’s Advisory Council to advise on action to tackle workplace and occupational segregation and other issues relating to gender equality.

  • We will continue to take action to increase the representation of women on boards, through the Partnership for Change 50/50 by 2020 campaign and by bringing forward a Gender Balance on Public Boards Bill.

  • We will provide increased support for the Women in Enterprise Action Framework, which aims to increase the contribution of women’s enterprise to the Scottish economy.

Watch: the 7 things you need to know about the Scottish budget.

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