Scotland’s Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, has unveiled a draft budget that secures a major cash boost for the NHS, more investment in local public services and further financial support for families.
Today in Holyrood, the SNP Government announced record funding of over £16 billion for Scotland’s health services, with a further £869 million to directly support the fight against the pandemic.
Public sector workers will also be handed a pay rise.
£90 million will be made available to local authorities to freeze Council Tax levels, keeping more money in the pockets of families, while a majority of taxpayers will continue to pay less than they would elsewhere in the UK.
Ms Forbes also announced over £1 billion for the creation of a Green Workforce Academy to help people build skills for the future, £711 million to create more affordable housing, £98 million to improve broadband speeds and mobile coverage and £567 million to support the UK’s most ambitious childcare programme.
During his flying visit north today, deemed ‘essential’ by the UK government despite the clear Stay at Home message, Boris Johnson chose to talk down Scotland, claiming the country wasn’t able to tackle the pandemic without England’s help.
Commenting, SNP MSP Tom Arthur said:
“Today’s budget shows that where Scotland has the power, the SNP will take a different approach to give Scots the best deal in the UK.
“In unprecedented circumstances, and with one hand tied behind our back, the SNP is using its powers progressively to invest in our schools and our hospitals – while protecting household incomes during these tough times.
“Against the backdrop of added uncertainty caused by Boris Johnson’s Tory Brexit, the SNP Government has offered positive vision and leadership at a crucial moment for Scotland.
“While the Prime Minister has flown north to tell Scotland we couldn’t tackle this pandemic without Westminster’s support, back in the real world the SNP is getting on with the day job – creating a more prosperous equal society for us all.
“The question for voters at May’s election is simple.
“Who should be in charge of Scotland’s economic recovery from this virus, a government democratically elected by the people who live and work here, or Boris Johnson?”