Richard Thomson, SNP MP for Gordon, has welcomed the draft 2021-22 Scottish Budget unveiled last week by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, describing it as ‘a budget for families and jobs’.
The budget includes commitments to help job creation and a generous £16billion for health and social care services.
The draft proposals – if passed by Holyrood – would provide record support to NHS Scotland following the most challenging period in its history. The budget brings a 5.3% increase on 2020-21 healthcare spending, including a further £869million for tackling Covid-19 to ensure frontline services can respond to the challenges the pandemic presents, as well as capital funding for North East projects such as the Baird Family Hospital and Anchor Centre in Aberdeen.
Substantial funds will also be dedicated to job creation including launching a new Green Workforce Academy to train individuals to work in the low carbon economy, a £100million Green Jobs Fund, £7million towards making Scotland a world-class hub for digital business, and an additional £125million for the Young Person’s Guarantee.
Local authorities would be given £90million to freeze council tax in a bid to support family budgets. On top of that public sector workers earning up to £25,000 could receive at least a 3% pay increase by means of a £750 cash support, and a 1% rise for those earning up to £80,000. The budget also includes more than £3.1billion in resources and capital investment for education and skills, as well as £567million to provide 1,140 hours of early learning and childcare to help meet the ambitious childcare programme.
MSPs will vote on the proposed budget plans next month and Mr Thomson is urging all members to support the draft.
Commenting, he said: “The proposed Scottish Budget shows the commitment of the Scottish Government to help Scotland tackle the pandemic and build a better Scotland as we emerge from its shadow.
“Our NHS has coped admirably throughout this trying time and the allocation of these funds recognises the vital role it will play as we rebuild our society, including the testing and vaccinations programmes as well as combatting the effect the pandemic has had on mental health and wellbeing.
“Young people in Scotland deserve investment in their future, whether that’s in schools and the school estate, or whether it’s in the job opportunities of the future. That’s what this budget will deliver, and I’d urge MSPs to give it their support so that together we can ensure Scotland’s economy and public services have the best possible opportunity to bounce back in the wake of the pandemic.”