Scottish Budget ‘to make more prosperous country’

Finance Secretary John Swinney is to outline his budget plan for 2015-16 with a pledge to make Scotland a more prosperous country and tackle inequality.

John Swinney. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
John Swinney. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Mr Swinney will present the draft budget detailing the Scottish Government’s spending proposals to MSPs at Holyrood today.

It will include details of new taxation and borrowing powers transferred to the Scottish Parliament through the Scotland Act 2012 – the first Scottish tax rates in more than 300 years.

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Mr Swinney will propose the first rates for the two devolved taxes, the land and buildings transaction tax – which replaces the existing UK stamp duty land tax paid when buying property over a certain value – and the Scottish landfill tax, both of which are due to come into effect on April 1 next year.

The Finance Secretary said the draft budget was set against a strengthening Scottish economy and record levels of employment on one hand and the economic challenges posed to public finances by the “UK austerity programme” on the other.

He said the content and the setting of the new tax rates would be informed by the “unprecedented” levels of political engagement seen during the recent referendum. The Act also brought in a Scottish rate of income tax from April 2016.