The Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, has set out the Scottish Government’s budget plans for the year ahead. In the face of the chaos and confusion of Brexit, this budget offers stability, maintains our social contract and protects Scotland’s public services.
Here’s what you need to know.
Increased investment in our health and care services
Our budget will deliver almost £730 million extra investment for health and care services.
This includes increased investment in mental health of £27 million, bringing overall funding for mental health to £1.1 billion in 2019-20.
We will invest over £9 billion in our Health and Social Care Partnerships for primary and community health services.
Improving the life chances of children and young people in Scotland
To ensure all young people can fulfil their potential, this budget will fund:
- £180 million to raise attainment in schools, including £120 million delivered directly to head teachers to spend on closing the attainment gap.
- Extra investment of almost £500 million to expand early learning and childcare through staff recruitment and training and 750 new, expanded or refurbished nurseries.
- Over £1 billion investment for Scotland’s universities and £600 million for Scotland’s colleges.
Delivering a fair tax system in the face of imposed austerity
We continue to have the fairest income tax anywhere in the UK with 55 per cent of taxpayers paying less in Scotland than they would elsewhere in the UK.
99 per cent of income taxpayers will pay the same or less than last year with the Starter and Basic rate bands increasing with inflation.
Against the backdrop of austerity and a real terms reduction to the total Scottish budget, our tax system this year alone will mean we have an additional £68 million to invest in protecting our cherished public services.
Investing in the economy today to seize the opportunities of tomorrow
To grow our economy we will:
- Invest £130 million towards the establishment of a Scottish National Investment Bank.
- Fund a total business rates relief package worth more than £750 million, the most generous anywhere in the UK.
- Set aside over £5 billion of capital investment including investment in the National Manufacturing Institute and in City Region Deals.
- Invest £74 million in our rural enterprise bodies to support businesses, infrastructure, projects and communities.
- Provide a ten year rates relief for new fibre broadband installations, the most generous relief in the UK.
Our action to fight poverty and inequality
To build a fairer Scotland, this budget will:
- Invest a record sum of over £825 million towards our pledge to build 50,000 affordable homes in this Parliamentary term
- Continue to invest £50 million in the Ending Homelessness Together Fund to tackle rough sleeping, and £50 million in our Tackling Child Poverty Fund.
- Provide £435 million for our social security assistance including:
- £283 million for Carers Allowance and a further £37 million for the Carer’s Allowance Supplement
- £12.4 million for Best Start Grant
- £6.2 million for Funeral Expense Assistance
- £33 million for the Scottish Welfare Fund
- Double investment in the Fair Food Fund, supporting foodbanks, from £1.5 million to £3.5 million.
- Invest almost £100 million to continue our mitigation of the Bedroom Tax and the UK government’s welfare cuts.
While Westminster descends ever deeper into chaos, the Scottish Government will continue to protect our public services, invest in the economy and build a fairer Scotland.