Swinney sets extra £130m to work on education and housing

FINANCE secretary John Swinney will attempt to take some of the sting out of Scotland’s austerity cutbacks today as he prepares to lay out additional spending of more than £130m in the majority SNP government’s first budget.

Mr Swinney is expected to plough fresh cash into further education colleges and social housing, following protests over swingeing cuts due to take place from April.

Talks with opposition parties, meanwhile, will continue this morning. Mr Swinney said last night he wanted to “build consensus”.

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All the opposition parties are calling for extra funding for further education colleges.

The move comes after the SNP government announced last year than it would cut further education budgets by £74m by 2014-15.

The extra cash Mr Swinney has available today comes as a result of the UK government’s autumn statement last year, which has increased the Scottish Government’s coffers for next year by £130m.

Mr Swinney added last night: “The Budget Bill underpins our approach to boosting economic growth, creating jobs, investing in infrastructure and improving public services in Scotland, and I am determined we use every device possible to support the recovery.”