Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Ruaraidh Gilmour
19 December 2023
Scottish Government to set out budget

Shona Robison | Alamy

Scottish Government to set out budget

The Scottish Government will set out its budget plans for the next 12 months today. 

As finance secretary Shona Robison prepares to outline her spending plans for 2024-25 much of the buildup has been dominated by an estimated £1.5bn hole that she will have to fill. 

There is speculation that she will introduce a new income tax band of 45 per cent for those on incomes between £75,000-£125,000 this afternoon, but the Fraser of Allander Institute estimates this could raise as little as £40m. 

Job losses in the public sector could be on the table too. Last month the finance secretary spoke about the need to reform public services, saying there was “no doubt” that staffing would have to be reduced due to a tight budget and inflation-driven pay deals.   

She said that areas like health would be protected and that ministers wanted to avoid compulsory redundancies. It is expected there will be more details of reforms this afternoon.   

Speaking to members of the media yesterday, Robison said Scottish ministers face “tough choices” but said that the government would have had £1bn less to spend on public services if they had taken the tax positions that the UK Government have in previous years.  

The prime minister, who visited RAF Lossiemouth in Moray yesterday, said it would be “disappointing” to see tax rises in Scotland. 

Robison said in response to Sunak’s comments: “He’s got a bit of a cheek pitching up in Scotland to say anything, given his autumn statement is deprioritising public spending, which will be there for all to see. Not just in Scotland, but in Wales, in England. To have a real-term cut to the NHS in England is an astonishing position at a time when the services are still recovering from Covid. 

“If we followed Tory spending plans, the NHS in Scotland next year would have got an extra £10.8 million, which would give about five hours of capacity in the NHS. Clearly, that’s not something we can follow, and wouldn’t want to follow. But in order to meet pay alone we will have to find about a quarter of a billion pounds of resources.” 

Sunak said: “The UK Government has provided a record amount of funding to the Scottish Government through the Barnett formula, so they’re ultimately responsible for the finances here in Scotland. 

“But I can tell you what we’re doing in the UK is controlling spending and cutting people’s taxes and that’s going to kick in for everyone in Scotland and across the UK, a reduction in the rate of national insurance from 12 per cent to 10 per cent from January. That will save a typical person in work around £450. It’s a significant tax cut. 

“So that’s what the UK Government is doing to help Scottish families with the cost of living, which we know is a priority for them. 

“Ultimately, it’s the Scottish Government that is responsible for their own finances – it’s already the highest taxed part of the UK and obviously it would be very disappointing to see that tax burden continue to rise in Scotland.” 

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe



Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top