A significant cash injection to health and care services and funding to help prepare Scotland’s economy for Brexit are at the heart of the Scottish Government’s spending plans for the year ahead.
The 2019/20 Scottish Budget, published today, proposes an increase of almost £730 million in health and care services. This includes additional revenues generated by tax decisions that mitigate the shortfall in NHS funding promised by the UK Government.
Unveiling the spending plans in Parliament, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay also announced more than £180 million to raise attainment in schools.
The budget includes more than £5 billion of capital investment to grow and modernise infrastructure – including a new £50 million Town Centre Fund to support the future of our high streets.
Real terms increases in funding for local government, education, health and the police will support the transformation of our public services to meet new challenges, while investment in skills, social security and training will help ensure we deliver opportunity for all.
The Scottish Government will continue to deliver on its commitments to end homelessness and tackle child poverty, while investment in culture is also protected.
Mr Mackay also confirmed that the Scottish Government’s tax policy will ensure 55% of income taxpayers in Scotland will pay less than people earning the same income in the rest of the UK, while continuing to raise revenue to support investment in the economy and public services.
Mr Mackay said:
“This is a budget of stimulus and stability. It delivers for today and invests in tomorrow and does so with fairness, equality and inclusiveness at its heart.
“It provides an increase of almost £730 million for our health and care services, invests more than £180 million to raise attainment in our schools and gives a vital boost to our economy through a £5 billion infrastructure programme.
“As a result of these decisions, we have been able to invest in essential public services, particularly the NHS, while ensuring 55% of income taxpayers in Scotland pay less tax than those earning the same income in the rest of the UK. Taken together with the personal allowance, 99% of taxpayers will pay less income tax next year on the same income.
“This budget delivers the public services, social contract and economic investment people expect while mitigating, where we can, the impacts of the UK Government’s policies of austerity and Brexit that are causing so much harm.”
Assessing the impact of ongoing uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the EU on this year’s budget, Mr Mackay added:
“Our spending plans for 2019-20 include a commitment to mitigate the risks of Brexit as best we can, to enable our economy to thrive in any circumstances, now and in the future.
“It is disappointing that we are facing the prospect of having to revisit these plans in the event of a chaotic no-deal outcome. If leaving the EU can be avoided, those resources currently being directed towards essential preparations can be reinvested into our public services and economy.”
The 2019/20 Scottish Budget includes:
- More than £180 million in raising attainment in schools, including £120 million for head teachers to spend on closing the attainment gap
- Continuing to deliver a progressive income tax system
- A public sector pay deal that continues the journey of restoring pay levels and provides an above inflation pay uplift of 3% for those earning up to £36,500
- Providing the most generous package of business rates reliefs in the UK, and ensure more than 90 per cent of properties in Scotland will be charged a lower tax rate than other parts of the UK
- More than £600 million in colleges and maintain investment at more than £1 billion in universities
- Increasing direct investment in mental health by £27 million, taking overall funding to £1.1 billion, including improving mental health services for young people, and providing support in schools, colleges and universities
- Increasing investment in Health and Social Care Partnerships to more than £9 billion for delivery of primary and community health services
- Delivering new and improved social security benefits based on dignity and respect
- Providing local government with a real terms increase in both revenue and capital funding, and a real terms increase in total overall support, through a £11.1 billion settlement
- Almost £500 million to expand funded early learning and childcare, supporting the recruitment and training of staff and investment in building, refurbishment and extension of around 750 nurseries and family centres
- Initial funding of £130 million towards the establishment of a Scottish National Investment Bank
- Protect the police resource budget in real terms
- More than £20 million for zero waste, supporting the transition towards a more resource-efficient, circular economy, including design and implementation of a deposit return scheme
- £80 million for Active Travel to help build an Active Nation
- More than £825 million, as part of our total investment in excess of £3 billion to deliver 50,000 affordable homes over the course of the Parliament
- Continuing to invest in the £50 million Ending Homelessness Together fund
- More than £70 million in 2019/20 to drive forward sustainable and inclusive growth in the rural economy