Scottish Parliament passes Scottish budget

Written by Jenni Davidson on 24 February 2017 in News

The Scottish Government had its budget passed yesterday with support from the Greens

Scottish Parliament - Image credit: Anita Gould

The Scottish budget for 2017-18 was passed by the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

MSPs voted by 68 to 57 in favour of the budget, with the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems voting against it.

The Scottish Greens supported the SNP minority government to get it passed, after doing a deal which included maintaining the threshold for higher rate income tax at £43,000 and additional funding for local authorities and the police.

Introducing the debate, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said the budget offered a “balanced approach”.

He said: “The budget that we will vote on today includes areas of compromise where, as a minority Government, we have worked hard to secure support for the bill in order to deliver on our commitments and protect Scotland’s hard-won social contract.

“I thank once again those who engaged constructively in those discussions.

“As a result of that, I believe that the bill offers a balanced approach that is right for our economy, for jobs and for our public services, as well as providing stability and continuity for the public and taxpayers at a time of economic uncertainty.”

However, Conservative finance spokesperson Murdo Fraser said the Finance Secretary has made the “wrong choices”.

“The budget process is not just about balances; it is also about choices,” he said.

“It remains our view that the finance secretary has made the wrong choices in connection with the budget. We should have had a budget for economic growth.

“As we well know, the Scottish economy underperforms that of the rest of the United Kingdom.

“Our growth rate is barely one third of the UK average, our employment rate is lower, our unemployment rate is higher and our business confidence level is much lower.

“We should have had a budget to boost economic growth and, as a result, to boost our tax revenues.”

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “When members vote at decision time tonight, we will see who really is stronger for Scotland.

“A vote for a budget that imposes cuts to local services such as schools and care for the elderly is not evidence that members are stronger for Scotland.”

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