Additional health spend in Scottish budget
Spending on the NHS is to pass £12bn for the first time as the Scottish Parliament passes Finance Secretary John Swinney’s budget this afternoon.
Deputy First Minister Swinney told MSPs his budget plan would make Scotland “a more prosperous and a much fairer country than it is today.”
Frontline health spending is to rise by £383m next year, including an extra £127m which had not previously been announced, he said.
Scottish Labour had been calling for an additional £100m ‘Frontline Fund’. Party Finance spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said the extra money had come from extra money raised through Barnett formula funding from Westminster. "There is not one penny more allocated to health than simply announcing what you would do with the remaining £127m consequentials," she said.
Education also formed a central part of Swinney’s speech. “The health of our population and the education of our young people are two of the most important responsibilities of government and they are at the top of our priorities,” he said.
Additional funding announced today included a further £10m for councils to maintain teacher numbers, who Swinney slammed for refusing to commit to do so, and a further £20m to tackle the attainment gap.
There was also a previously unannounced investment in energy efficiency of £20m.
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) spokeswoman Sarah Beattie Smith said: "With nearly 40% of Scottish homes in fuel poverty, today's announcement is very welcome. Energy efficiency is the best way to tackle fuel poverty and it's in the Scottish government's power to address the chronic issue of cold, damp, draughty homes.”
The budget also contains £390m for 6,000 new affordable homes, £300m to extend free childcare and £81 to mitigate effects of the ‘Bedroom Tax’.