Helping families and services through the cost of living crisis
Eradicating child poverty, transforming the economy to deliver net zero and creating sustainable public services will be the key aims of the Scottish Budget 2023-24.
A sustained economic downturn is placing economic pressure on everyone at a certain level. The Scottish Government therefore had to act decisively to provide as much support as possible within the limits of its resources.
I welcome the initiatives put in place to make the lives of Scottish people easier, such as the Scottish Child Payment, or the Adult Disability Payment.
We must also fundamentally change how we manage public expenditures in order to meet the economic challenges facing us.
According to the Bank of England, the recession will extend to the longest period since the turn of the century. This budget is important and proves the possibility of making financial and public services more sustainable for the near future. Now more than ever, we need strong and empowering policies.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney warned relentless prioritisation was needed to tackle the combined impact of high inflation, the ongoing economic consequences of Brexit and the UK Government’s plans to reduce expenditure in future years, which are projected to reduce the Scottish Government’s funding under the Barnett formula from 2025.
He said the Budget would channel support to where it was most needed while beginning a process of reform to help public services face the future with strength and resilience.
– Mr Swinney
Families, businesses and our public finances are under sustained economic pressure and the Scottish Government has acted decisively to provide what support it can within its limited resources. We have allocated £3 billion in 2022-23 to mitigate the impact of the cost of living crisis, including targeted help such as increasing the game changing Scottish Child Payment to £25 per eligible child per week – a 150% increase within eight months.
However, given the fiscal constraints of devolution, it is not possible to go as far as we would like and so the Budget will prioritise three areas – eradicating child poverty, transforming the economy to deliver net zero and creating sustainable public services.
Difficult decisions are required and resources will be targeted where they are most needed and can secure maximum value from every pound spent.
The economic challenges we face also require a fundamental change in the way we manage public spending. The Bank of England is predicting the longest recession for a century so this Budget will set in motion reforms that will place our finances and public services on a more sustainable and resilient footing for the future.
This is a time for firm leadership and bold decision making. Steps we take now will help ensure Scotland emerges from the current crisis a stronger, fairer, greener country.