During the debate, Deputy First Minister John Swinney told MSPs that he will support Scotland’s lowest paid earners and households in a budget that is about ‘wage rises, not tax rises’.
The Budget will also:
- Increase the NHS budget by £500m to around £13bn for the first time
- Invest £250m in the radical reform of health and social care
- Invest more than £5bn in education and protect the teacher-pupil ratio
- Protect the Police budget, and
- Protect family budgets with the Council Tax freeze
Speaking after the debate at Holyrood, the Deputy First Minister said:
“This Government has taken decisions to prioritise economic growth and public sector reform, to build for the future, to protect household incomes and to ensure that our public services are supported in the years to come. This is a Budget of wage rises, not tax rises.
“We want to deliver a pay rise for up to 51,400 of the lowest paid workers in Scotland. The uprating of the living wage, its extension to Social Care workers and an uplift of £400 for those covered by public sector pay policy earning £22,000 or less, will see tens of thousands better off because of this Budget.
“And I certainly won’t increase people’s tax burden. Even a 1p increase, with the powers we currently have, will see lower earners pay more on their tax bill – that includes newly qualified nurses, newly qualified teachers, police officers, firefighters, postmen, bus drivers, charity workers, shop workers, and hotel workers – the people we rely on to keep Scotland going the length and breadth of the country.
“We will deliver an extensive capital programme that will support our economy, enhance our social infrastructure and help address climate change. It takes forward a bold and ambitious programme of public sector reform, together with our delivery partners, to ensure the sustainability and quality of our services.”