Scottish Liberal Democrat budget wishlist sent to Derek Mackay
Budget negotiations made public as Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie writes to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
Willie Rennie - Holyrood
The Scottish Liberal Democrats have outlined what concessions they hope to win from the SNP in return for backing for Derek Mackay’s budget.
Because the SNP does not have an overall majority at Holyrood, it will require the support of at least one other party to pass its spending plans for the year.
It is thought this will most likely be from fellow independence supporters the Scottish Greens with six MSPs or from the five Scottish Liberal Democrats.
In a letter to Mackay, Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie called for a ‘pupil premium’, a scheme which awards schools with funding based on individual deprived pupils and was championed by the Lib Dems as part of the UK coalition government.
He also calls for more spending on colleges and a doubling of the funding for child and adolescent mental health services.
“The intention is to secure substantial changes to the budget which will set Scotland on a stronger, more liberal path, giving people the chance to succeed and reach their potential whatever their background,” he said.
“Liberal Democrats will not agree to the draft budget as it stands and will need these substantial changes. If we don’t get what the country needs then we will walk away.”
The Lib Dems also propose a £20m boost for Police Scotland and greater subsidies for ferry services to the Northern Isles, which are represented by two of the party’s MSPs Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott.
Last week at First Minister's Questions, Nicola Sturgeon told Rennie: "We have put forward a budget that has the right priorities, but of course we remain open to discussing its detail with any party that wishes to engage in a constructive way. I know that Willie Rennie and the Liberal Democrats will want to do that."
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