The SNP Scottish Government budget is leading the way in reducing inequality, despite the challenges presented by the Tories’ economic mismanagement.
Fourteen long years of painful Westminster austerity has left the UK with lower living standards, stagnant wages and public services at breaking point.
The Tories’ legacy of misery has impacted even on areas devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Due to the complexities of the Barnett Formula, cuts to health spending impact the funding available here in Scotland.
And the Scottish Parliament lacks the borrowing powers and fiscal levers to reverse the Tories’ terrible decisions.
“We’re in the constitutional position where big decisions that we want to make in this country … are being made elsewhere”
— BBC Debate Night (@bbcdebatenight) February 7, 2024
Railing against these obstacles, the 2024/25 SNP Scottish budget prioritises tackling the cost of living crisis and reducing inequality through record social security funding.
The Scottish Government’s budget will invest £6.3 billion in social security support, over £1 billion more than the Scottish Government receives from the UK government through block grant adjustments, to support over 1.2 million people.
Social Security Scotland support goes directly to low income households and disadvantaged communities – including £457 million for the game-changing Scottish Child Payment which now reaches over 320,000 families. Last year, it was estimated this Scotland-only payment lifted 90,000 children out of poverty.
Funding for Social Security Scotland includes:
- A total of £6.3 billion invested in social security to support over 1.2 million people.
- £457 million delivered for the game-changing Scottish Child Payment – helping 323,000 families.
- All Scottish benefits increased in line with inflation (6.7%).
- The launch of the pilot Carer Support Payment – benefitting over 80,000 carers by Autumn 2024.
- Delivery of fourteen social security benefits, including seven which are unique to Scotland.
The record spending on our social security system ensures that low income families are supported through the Westminster cost of living crisis, older people are able to heat their homes over winter and disabled people are enabled to live full and independent lives.
🏴 Your SNP Scottish Government is building a social security system based on dignity, fairness and respect – providing vital support to those who need it.
❌ Meanwhile, Westminster seeks to place the most vulnerable in a cruel sanctions regime. pic.twitter.com/Nfo5mL1biL
— The SNP (@theSNP) February 7, 2024
Public spending per head in Scotland is around 15% higher than the UK average, a stark contrast to the attitude of the Westminster government.
The SNP have proven the Scotland’s finances can be managed in even the toughest of times – and without axing the benefits of Scotland provides that our cherished by the people who live here.
Policies such as free tuition and bus travel for young people aim to alleviate financial pressures and unleash their potential.
In countless countries across the world, policies like these have been proven to contribute to higher living standards in the long term, ensuring that education and life chances are not based on the ability to pay.
Free prescriptions, free personal care and properly paid NHS staff make Scotland’s NHS not only free at the point of need, but the only NHS in the UK not to suffer days lost to strike action.
But both Labour and the Tories have expressed their desire to scrap so many of these Scotland-only benefits, especially as both parties prioritise tax cuts in order to win over wealthy voters.
Labour has already backtracked on abolishing tuition fees in addition to junking other major pledges, such as replacing the House of Lords, scrapping the two child cap and the bedroom tax and the £28billion per year fund to support a Just Transition.
She called on the UK Government to use the Spring Budget to prioritise investment in public services over offering tax cuts, to ensure Scotland has the funding it needs.
— Scottish Government Finance and Economy (@scotgoveconomy) February 1, 2024
Only the SNP can manage Scotland’s finances competently, maintaining our UK-leading public spending while rejecting vicious public sector cuts.
While cruel Westminster policies such as the Tory implemented and Labour backed two child cap hammer struggling households – the SNP is doing everything possible to stand up for and support the people in Scotland who need it the most.