Finance Secretary John Swinney has warned Scotland faces ‘tough choices’ in the wake of UK austerity, ahead of the Scottish Government’s Budget later this week.
The budget is normally announced in September, but was delayed until after the UK Government’s spending review in November.
The Deputy First Minister has made clear that, with even more cuts imposed on Scotland by the UK Government’s Spending Review last month, Scotland faces an unprecedented pressure on public expenditure.
Taken together with the cuts imposed since 2010, the Scottish Government’s Fiscal DEL budget – the discretionary budget – will be 12.5 per cent lower than it was for this Chancellor’s first budget.
Mr Swinney will detail his plans for the next year in Parliament this Wednesday (December 16th).
Mr Swinney said
The Chancellor has imposed real terms cuts on Scotland every year from now until 2020, and more than a billion pounds of those cuts are still to come between now and the end of the decade.
We have demonstrated that the UK Government didn’t have to take this approach. Debt and the deficit could have been reduced without this scale of cuts that has been chosen by the Chancellor.
Now Scotland has to deal with the reality of the Chancellor’s decision. We face tough choices in the coming days.
Against this backdrop, the Scottish Government is determined that we will defend and protect the key priorities that the people of Scotland expect us to deliver on. Critical pillars of Scottish life – our schools, hospitals and police – will not be sacrificed to the Chancellor’s austerity obsession.
In recent years we have been able to deliver better outcomes for the people of Scotland. More police, lower crime, better schools, tuition-free university education and a health budget that is at a record level.
These commitments demonstrate the prioritisation of the Scottish Government. We are working to create a more inclusive economy, where every individual can fulfil their potential. That approach will be central to our Budget plans.