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22 December 2015

Budget for Scotland Sets Out Alternative to Tory Austerity

Boosts for Health, Policing and Housebuilding

The budget announced by Deputy First Minister John Swinney sets out a clear, Scottish alternative to austerity – protecting and reforming vital public services in challenging circumstances while supporting inclusive growth equip Scotland with the revenues needed to tackle inequality.

As set out by John Swinney today, Scotland’s budget will provide additional funding for key public services like health and education – and will deliver an additional £90 million to build more affordable housing.

Health board spending in Scotland is set for a £500 million increase – meaning total investment in the frontline NHS budget next year of almost £13 billion – which will support significant reform of Scotland’s health service to meet the challenges faced by an older population.

Mr Swinney also made clear that Scotland’s frontline policing resource budget will be protected in real terms for every year of the next Parliament by a re-elected SNP government – providing a boost of £100 million over the period.

In addition, household budgets across Scotland will be shielded from the effects of Tory austerity through the continued Council Tax freeze – the ninth year in a row it has been frozen, saving the average band D household around £1,500.

Commenting, local MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The budget set out by John Swinney is focussed on boosting economic growth and protecting our public services – setting out a clear, Scottish alternative to continued Tory austerity from Westminster.

“Despite unprecedented cuts to Scotland’s budget, the SNP in government is delivering a £500 million boost to our health service to equip it to reform and deal with challenges posed by an aging population – and our frontline policing budget is set to rise by £100 million, helping our hard-working police officers keep our communities safe.

“And the £90 million boost to investment in affordable housing is very welcome as we look to build on the progress made in recent years and deliver 50,000 new affordable homes over the course of the next Parliament.

“That the Deputy First Minister has been able to deliver these boosts to investment in key public services and our housing stock is testament to the Scottish Government’s determination not to simply accept Tory austerity – and to take real action to take a new and better approach.

“Our record in government over the last eight years is one we can be proud to stand on and be confident in taking to the people in May – and today’s Budget sets out a progressive and ambitious plan to boost our economy, protect and reform our public services and choose a Scottish alternative to continued Tory austerity.”
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