Scottish Budget: Conservatives set out spending demands
The Scottish Conservatives have set out their budget demands ahead of John Swinney announcing his tax and spend plans for the next year on Thursday.
The party has called on the government to ditch “vanity” commitments including the £20m for independence referendum planning, with more money to go to local government.
Extra cash coming to Scotland as a result of UK Government investment in health and education should be passed on to the Scottish NHS and schools in full, the party added.
Finance spokesperson Liz Smith said: “With Scotland’s NHS on its knees and education standards in freefall, it’s essential that the Barnett consequentials stemming from the Chancellor’s budget are passed on directly to our hospitals and schools.
“Meanwhile the SNP is sitting on money that could help hard-pressed families and businesses now. It should immediately divert its vanity spending on a referendum that the courts have ruled out and abandon reckless plans for a costly, centralised National Care Service that everyone else can see is a bad idea.”
Other demands include an improved business rates relief packaged, reversing cuts to police, fire and court services, and an investment plan for delivering net-zero.
The deputy first minister is set to make the Budget statement at around 2pm on Thursday.
The government has said it will focus on tackling the cost-of-living crisis and climate change.
But last week Swinney warned: “Difficult decisions are required and resources will be targeted where they are most needed and can secure maximum value from every pound spent.”
The Scottish Greens – who are in government with the SNP – said the Budget would be the “greenest since devolution”.
Finance spokesperson Ross Greer said: “This Budget will build on the vital progress that we have made in the last 18 months, including through continuation of the Greens’ free bus travel scheme for young people and further roll-out of the Scottish Child Payment.
“It will also go further in efforts to tackle child poverty and will scale up the actions we are taking to tackle the climate emergency.”