Today’s budget highlights the totally contrasting approaches of the Scottish and UK Governments, said local MSP Stewart Stevenson, after a raft of announcements put jobs, growth and fairness at the heart of the Scottish Government’s spending priorities.
Following a week in which the human cost of Tory/Lib Dem cuts to the welfare state were laid bare, and in which Nick Clegg was finally forced into a humiliating apology for breaking the Lib Dem promise on tuition fees, the Scottish Government has today outlined a number of measures designed to boost jobs and protect those on the lowest incomes, including:
- £180m over two years for investment in construction, skills and the green economy
- £80m brought forward for the Schools for the Future programme
- £40m additional investment in affordable housing
- £18m for skills training
- A modest wage increase for most public sector employees, and a commitment to uprate the living wage in line with the Living Wage campaign recommendations.
Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:
“The contrast between the Scottish and UK Governments could not be clearer. We are living in incredibly tough financial times, and while the UK Government stifles growth and takes money from the most vulnerable in society, the Scottish budget has growth and fairness at its heart.
“The Scottish Government, along with the other devolved administrations across the UK, recognises the paramount importance of capital investment to support economic recovery. That’s why the hundreds of millions of pounds being poured into vital projects such as the new prison for Peterhead – supporting thousands of jobs in the process - is particularly welcome.
“And of course the living wage, the council tax freeze, free prescriptions, concessionary travel and free university tuition are all helping to put money back into families’ pockets.
“Above all, this budget helps explain why people in Scotland overwhelmingly trust the Scottish Government to make the right decisions for Scotland, while fewer than one in five trust the Westminster Government.”