Housing and college sectors given extra £48m

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Finance Secretary John Swinney announced increases to housing and college budgets as he opened the debate on his Budget (Scotland) (No.2) Bill on 6 February 2013.

The finance secretary said there would be a "further substantial, additional investment in housing, providing new homes and improving our existing stock, cutting emissions and supporting an estimated 800 jobs across Scotland with additional expenditure of £38 million."

Mr Swinney said: "The government will make available the best possible deal we can for colleges. We shall provide an additional £10 million in 2013-14. That increase will establish the college budget at £522m in the next financial year."

He went on to say the college budget would be maintained at that level in 2014-15, which he said was an "extra £61 million over these two years allowing Scotland's colleges to go forward with confidence and ambition to deliver the programme of reform."

Earlier he said: "The Budget Bill seeks to accelerate economic recovery by creating jobs and supporting people into employment, particularly our young people, and by supporting Scottish business."

Scottish Labour's finance spokesperson Ken Macintosh said the budget was "disappointing" and did not restore the cuts the finance secretary had made last year.

Mr Macintosh said the £10m extra for colleges for 2013-14 was the finance secretary "simply trying to ameliorate the cuts for which he is responsible" and asked why the government had not replaced the full £35m cut.

He added: "Housing is one of most important sectors in our economy, why not use the full £350m net capital available to make a real difference".

Scottish Conservative finance spokesperson Gavin Brown said the Scottish government had "more money next financial year than this" adding "any cuts are political choices of the SNP".

Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said there was "real disappointment the SNP has not stepped up to the plate" over nursery education provision for 2 year olds.

The second part of the debate can be viewed below:

Budget debate 2

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