Finance Secretary Kate Forbes is set to announce a range of new measures in the Scottish budget for 2021-22, which she described as potentially the “most important in the history of devolution”.
A statement from the Scottish Government at the weekend promised that measures promoting recovery and renewal will be at the heart of the financial plan.
Forbes said: “The budget will include innovative, targeted measures to help businesses and families get back on their feet and bolster our vital public services.
“I have already ruled out following the UK Government’s public sector pay freeze and will set out details of a pay settlement that is both fair and affordable.”
In 2019-20, the Scottish Government’s budget was just under £34bn, with £28.6bn allocated to public services expenditure, and £5.1bn for investment in infrastructure.
However the pandemic has led to significant spending, with an extra £8.6bn added to support people and businesses – and a further £1.3bn already committed to the block grant for the coming year.
Despite the UK Government’s budget coming at its usual date in March, the Scottish budget will confirm funding allocations for local government earlier. So for the second year in a row, MSPs are having to drawn up figures based on guesswork and pledges from the Treasury.
Forbes added: “This budget will help Scotland emerge as a globally competitive, fairer and greener country and I urge all parties to work in the national interest to ensure it is passed by the Scottish Parliament.”
The SNP government needs the support of its opposition to pass its budget, aiming to negotiate this by the first full debate of the bill on 25 February – with matters made more difficult due to the election looming in May.
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