Budget for growth
Your front page article (22 September) is founded on a partial reading of the budget document and fails to take account of information provided to The Scotsman in response to erroneous claims.
Table 1 of the draft budget shows that the money made available to the Scottish Government by the UK Treasury will fall in 2013-14 from £28,603 million to £28,441m, a cash reduction of £162m, equivalent to 3 per cent in real terms. By careful management of the resources available to us, including carrying forward money from 2011-12 and 2012-13 and extracting best value from our capital programmes, we will be able to spend more than the resources originally allocated to us by Treasury for 2013-14.
As well as bringing forward new spending in key areas, we have been able to accelerate investment, and help local authorities absorb the pressures caused by the transfer by DWP of the council tax reduction scheme. We will also accelerate the building of new schools into this spending review period and increase the total number of schools built through the Schools for the Future programme.
It is also wrong to suggest that the local government budget has been cut. Local authorities will no longer be required to support police and fire services and the creation of single police and fire authorities is expected to improve performance and deliver savings over the long term. Taking account of these changes the local government budget actually increases by £30.8m. Councils will continue to enjoy a greater share of the Scottish budget than was the case in 2007.
The projected rise in non- domestic rates income is based on returns from local authorities and is subject to regular monitoring as part of the normal budget cycle process. It is misleading to suggest that the increase represents a tax rise by government. The increase results from the routine application of a number of agreed technical factors: namely taking account of inflation, the Scottish Government’s commitment to match English poundage, which ensures Scottish businesses retain a competitive edge, and growth in the number of businesses over the period.
Cabinet secretary for finance and employment and sustainable growth
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west