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Pledge to prioritise key services

Published: 16 Dec 2015 00:01

Swinney vow ahead of Budget.

Finance Secretary John Swinney has pledged that despite unprecedented financial cuts to the Scottish Budget, he will deliver a budget that continues to prioritise key public services.

Mr Swinney was speaking after a visit to the construction site of the new Royal Edinburgh Hospital campus. The £48 million first phase redevelopment will replace inpatient facilities in modern, fit-for-purpose buildings. The work also includes a new Robert Fergusson national brain injury unit. The site is being redeveloped in a number of stages over the next 10 years, with £120 million already earmarked for the next phase.

The Chancellor has imposed real terms cuts on Scotland every year from now until 2020, and more than a billion pounds of those cuts are still to come between now and the end of the decade.

Deputy First Minister said:

"I am determined to protect key priorities such as schools, hospitals and police. However, as a consequence of UK Government spending decisions, the Scottish Budget will continue to fall in real terms - as it has done since 2010 - until the end of this decade. That places a significant pressure on the funding of our public services and requires us to continually reform the way in which we deliver those public services.

"Despite these pressures, the Scottish Government will defend and protect the key priorities that the people of Scotland expect us to deliver on. Critical pillars of Scottish life – our schools, hospitals and police – will not be sacrificed to the Chancellor's austerity obsession.

"In recent years we have been able to deliver better outcomes for the people of Scotland. More police, lower crime, better schools, tuition-free university education and a health budget that is at a record level.

"We are working to create a more inclusive economy, where every individual can fulfill their potential. That approach will be central to our Budget plans."