- Part of:
DFM: this budget will support low income earners.
The Scottish Budget will deliver a pay rise for up to 51,400 low paid workers Deputy First Minister John Swinney said ahead of Stage 1 of the Budget Bill.
And, committing to further support the lowest paid, he pledged that he will not increase Income Tax in the coming year.
In total, the Scottish Government draft budget proposals will ensure up to 51,400 low income workers receive an increase in pay through the uprating of the living wage, it's extension to Social Care through the Local Government Settlement and an uplift of £400 for those earning £22,000 or less.
The Budget will also:
- Increase the NHS budget by £500 million to around £13 billion for the first time.
- Invest £250 million in the radical reform of health and social care
- Invest more than £5 billion in education and protect the teacher-pupil ratio
- Protect the Police budget, and
- Protect family budgets with the Council Tax freeze.
Ahead of the Stage 1 debate on the Draft 2016/17 Budget today, the Deputy First Minister said:
"I will not penalise those on low incomes, and I certainly won't increase their tax bill. Instead this budget will see up to 51,400 lower paid workers receive an increase in pay.
"Our budget will see an additional £250 million invested in social care, around £13 billion for health, it will freeze council tax for a ninth consecutive year, protect police budgets, invest £690 million in housing, allocate over £1 billion for higher education, and protect the pupil-teacher ratio, helping improve attainment.
"Our budget will equip the country for the future and lay the foundations for the reforms that will define the next parliament - reforms that will reshape our health and social care services, deliver a step change in educational attainment, deliver a fairer system of local taxation and use new powers over tax and welfare in a way that supports our central purpose.
"The current financial landscape presents us with a challenge and a choice: Scotland can accept these UK Government cuts or we can rise to the challenge and chose a Scottish alternative to austerity. We choose to rise to the challenge. This is the Scottish alternative."
For more information on the draft budget, visit: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/A-Budget-for-growth-and-reform-2087.aspx
The Scottish Government has fully funded the Council Tax freeze indeed, recent independent research from the Scottish Parliament's Information Service found that, compared to inflation, we have over-funded the Council Tax freeze by £164.9 million since 2008.
The Scottish Government has made £70 million available to continue the freeze for a ninth consecutive year in 2016-17, which if continued will have saved the average band D household around £1,550 over the period of the freeze.
Scotland's councils are able to address these challenges from a healthy base: Local Government funding has been rising in Scotland in recent years with core funding protected and new money provided for additional responsibilities. This is in stark contrast to the position in England, where local authorities have faced a real terms cut in funding of 27.4 per cent over the four year period 2011-15.