This week at the Scottish Parliament: Welcome stability in face of Brexit chaos

SNP budget plans given Holyrood approval

This week, the Scottish Parliament gave its backing to an SNP budget that offers economic stability in the face of Brexit, while giving a cash boost to the NHS, schools and other vital services.

Despite Westminster cuts of almost £2 billion in a decade to Scotland’s block resource grant, the SNP is proposing additional funding of almost £730 million for Scotland’s health and care services, more than £180 million to raise attainment in schools, and almost £500 million for the expansion of early learning and childcare.

The Finance Secretary also confirmed the Scottish Budget will provide an additional £90 million to support local government and as well as further flexibility and increased income from council tax. Taken together this enhanced package offers up to £187 million of increased funding and flexibility to councils.

We are committed to ensure local councils receive a fair funding settlement despite further cuts to the Scottish Budget from the UK Government – this budget delivers the most significant empowerment of local authorities since devolution.


Praise for SNP’s new social security system

An expert in social policy has heaped praise on the SNP’s draft Social Security Charter in front of Holyrood’s Social Security Committee.

Professor Paul Spicker, expert on social policy, said of the draft Scottish Social Security Charter: “There are a couple of days left to comment on the draft Scottish Social Security Charter, but I’m not going to do that, for a simple reason: it’s excellent, and I have no criticism to make.”

‘Our Charter’, which was created and developed by people with lived experience of the UK welfare system, explains how Scotland will take a different approach to social security by creating a supportive, respectful system, which acts as a safety net for all who need it.


Delivering for public sector workers

New independent analysis, from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), has found that our hard-working public sector staff, such as our police and NHS workers, are paid more and are better off as a result of the tax and spending decisions we’ve made in Scotland.

Under our income tax proposals for 2019/20, a host of public sector posts in Scotland earn more than their equivalents elsewhere in the UK under while ensuring that 99% of Scots will pay the same or less tax than the previous year.

A hospital porter at the top of the band two NHS pay scale, will be £634 a year better off compared with their English counterparts. While a staff nurse, at the top of band five, will be £208 better off.

Emergency service staff in Scotland are also set to benefit – a paramedic, on the band six pay scale, will be £571 better off than those in England, with a police constable at the top of their pay scale, will earning over £1,200 north of the border.

While the Tories would prefer to offer tax breaks to our highest earners – the SNP are committed to creating a more progressive, prosperous and equal society for everyone in Scotland.


Increase in Scotland’s international exports

New figures released this week revealed that international exports, excluding oil and gas, have increased from £20.6 billion in 2007 to £32.4 billion in 2017. The value of international exports is now growing at a fastest rate since 2011, and is up 6.2% since 2016. Indeed, EU exports provided the majority of the growth in the value of international exports, increasing by 13.3% to £14.9 billion in 2017.

If Scotland is dragged out of the EU against its will, our exporters would take the hit and our country would be left poorer for decades to come. Analysis shows that investment in Scotland will fall by around 7.7 per cent by 2030 when compared to full European Union membership, and inevitably almost 7,000 Scottish businesses who export to the EU will face more unnecessary delays and complications. We deserve much better than that.