Set against a backdrop of continued UK austerity and further Brexit uncertainty, it includes a significant cash injection for Scotland’s health and care services, alongside funding to help prepare our economy for Brexit.
As a result of our income tax decisions, we have been able to invest in essential public services, particularly the NHS, while ensuring 55% of income taxpayers in Scotland pay less tax than those earning the same income in the rest of the UK.
Taken together with the personal allowance 99% of taxpayers will pay less income tax next year on the same income.
These decisions will deliver an additional investment of £730 million for health and care services to mitigate the shortfall in NHS funding promised by the UK Government. NHS Lothian will see its budget increase by more than £57 million, to £1.441 billion in 2019-20.
The budget will invest £180 million to help raise attainment in our schools. It will help prepare our economy for Brexit with more than £5 billion of capital investment to grow and modernise Scotland’s infrastructure. This includes £207 million in our major rail electrification programme, including the line between Edinburgh and Glasgow via Shotts, and planning for potential investment to tackle surface water issues in Edinburgh.
The budget provides £187 million funding for City Deals, including the Edinburgh City Deal. Each deal is tailored to maximise the value from regional economic strengths and opportunities; in Edinburgh, we are using the world-leading data expertise of the city’s Universities to drive sustainable and inclusive economic development across the entire region.
The budget will also help establish a UNICEF data and informatics hub at the University of Edinburgh to help improve the wellbeing of children in Scotland and around the world, and continue to support the work of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
We will continue to support local authorities to develop their regions. In Edinburgh, we are using the scheme to help the Edinburgh St James Centre development unlock £1 billion of new retail, leisure, hotel and residential development in the city centre.
The budget delivers real terms increases in funding for local government, education, health and the police to support the transformation of our public services. These decisions will help us meet new challenges, while investment in skills, social security and training will help to ensure that we deliver opportunity for all.
We will continue to deliver on our commitments to end homelessness and tackle child poverty, and protect investment in culture. We will continue to invest £2 million into the Festivals Expo, and we are committed to providing a further £1 million per year, over five years, to support the Platform for the Creative Excellence programme, a three-way partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and Festivals Edinburgh.
This budget delivers the public services, social contract and economic investment people expect while mitigating, where we can, from the UK Government’s policies of austerity and Brexit that are causing so much harm.
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