The Finance Secretary Derek Mackay says he will present a strong budget at Holyrood this afternoon to support transformation of essential public services.
He says that it will strengthen Scotland’s economy and deliver long term investments to transform public services.
This will be Mackay’s third Scottish Budget and he said the government’s spending plans will prepare Scotland’s economy for future challenges and opportunities.
Investment in health and education will be prioritised, while the Scottish Government will use the full powers of devolution to help mitigate against UK austerity and the impact of Brexit.
Mr Mackay said: “The Programme for Government set out our vision to build on the progress of the last decade and the budget I present to the people of Scotland will help realise those ambitions and ensure we remain focused on delivering for the needs of today while investing for tomorrow.
“The 2019-20 Budget will set out how we will prepare the country for the future. Our spending plans for the year ahead will include long-term strategic investments that allow us to protect our essential public services, boost our economy and deliver on our commitments to the people of Scotland.
“Despite the UK Government’s promises, this budget will be set against a backdrop of continuing UK austerity which has devastating impacts on the most vulnerable in our communities.
“This is also a budget presented under the shadow of the UK government’s chaotic approach to Brexit which hangs over our economy, our public services and risks making us all poorer in the future.”
LABOUR WANT FUNDING FOR PUBLIC SERVICES
Scotland needs a budget which works for the many, not the few.
Here’s what we want to see👇 pic.twitter.com/UOm2CGaLwI
— Scottish Labour (@scottishlabour) December 12, 2018
The party has produced a video wrapping up its key pre-budget demands:
CONSERVATIVES WANT A BUDGET FOR ALL OF SCOTLAND
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay should deliver a “Budget for all of Scotland” rather than yielding to pressure from the Greens, the Scottish Conservatives have said today.
The SNP is widely expected once again to give in to demands from the Scottish Greens for a raft of unpopular tax rises as the price of a Budget deal.
However, shadow Finance Secretary Murdo Fraser said today that the Scottish Conservatives stood ready to back a Budget that delivered for families and businesses.
The Scottish Conservatives have said they are open to supporting a SNP Budget that rules out an unwanted second referendum on independence and addresses the widening tax gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Mr Fraser added that the SNP had no need to increase the tax burden on Scots given the extra £950m he has received from the UK Government following the Chancellor’s Budget last month.
Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary said: “Once again, the SNP appears ready today to sign on the dotted line with their fellow independence travellers in the Green party. We know what that will mean: higher taxes for ordinary families.
“My message today to Derek MacKay is to back blue, not Green.
“Rule out a second referendum on independence, address the widening gap between tax rates in Scotland and the rest of the UK – and let’s talk.
“This Budget is a massive opportunity for the SNP Government. Thanks to decisions made by the Conservative UK Budget, he has an extra £950 in his back pocket to spend. There is no need to keep driving up taxes. Mr Mackay can choose instead to back economic growth.
“We need a Budget for growth. Let’s see if Mr MacKay is up for the challenge.”