Fiona Hyslop, MSP for Linlithgow Constituency, welcomes the passing of the Stage 1 of the Budget the additional £120m announced during the debate for Local Government by Cabinet Secretary Kate Forces.
On the 27th of January, during a Stage 1 debate on the Budget (Scotland) Bill, Fiona delivered a speech in Parliament highlighting the restraints on the Budget due to the context in which it is being set, and the need for Scotland to have independence to allow Scotland to have the borrowing powers and stability required to invest further in policies that reflect the values of the Scottish people.
The Scottish Budget 2022-23 is a bold and ambitious package of public investment that will provide taxpayers with stability and support, tackle inequalities, invest in the economy and public services, accelerate Scotland’s Covid recovery and the drive to Net Zero.
However, Fiona highlighted the challenging circumstances in which the budget is being set; namely the impact of Brexit, the often-delayed transfers of money from Westminster, the differing priorities of the Scottish and UK Government, and that currently 68% of Scotland’s budget is spent on Health and Social care, and Local Government.
“I want to address the context in which this Budget is set and the implications of that.
Positively on the measure of GDP, Scottish economic growth returned to pre-pandemic levels in November. Scotland is developing and delivering and building on strong economic strengths in key sectors for a modern economy.
Negatively the drag of Brexit continues to hinder economic growth with the OBR forecasts that Brexit will reduce UKs potential productivity at twice the level of that of the Covid pandemic impact.
But the Financial arrangements of this Parliament, which just about everyone now acknowledges, cannot respond properly to crises like that of Covid. This Parliament has no substantial powers to borrow. The adjustments from UK are unpredictable and lack transparency and transfers are often way behind the original announcement of health, culture or other funds for England where Scotland is due its fair share.
Health and Social Care now account for £18bn and with £12.5 billion for Local Councils that means that £30.2bn, or 68% of Scotland’s budget of £44.5 bn is distributed to health, social and local gov alone
Scotland needs to be Independent by right, but it must be Independent for a purpose. The purpose of Independence is so we can shape our own future with a budget supported by policies which reflect the values and the vision of the people of Scotland and not the waste and wantonness of Westminster.
Scotland has what it takes, what we need is a Fresh start for Scotland with Independence.”
Link to official report with full speech: http://archive2021.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=13545&mode=pdf Link to full budget: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-budget-2022-23/