As-it-happened: Scottish budget 2013/14

Key Points

  • Finance Secretary John Swinney outlined his spending plans for 2013/14 before MSPs at the Scottish Parliament.
  • The SNP Cabinet minister said ahead of his address that his plan was for a "relentless pursuit of economic growth".
  • Mr Swinney signalled an end to the public sector pay freeze for about 28,000 staff in Scotland who will receive a 1% rise.

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  1.  
    1416:

    Hello and welcome to our live page text and video coverage of John Swinney delivering his 2013/14 budget plans. The SNP minister is due to get to his feet at about 14:30.

     
  2.  

    @LBFedSec Hoping John Swinney will demonstrate a commitment to protecting Scottish policing in his budget speech this afternoon.

     
  3.  
    Information
    Douglas Fraser and Brian Taylor Douglas Fraser and Brian Taylor will give analysis

    For analysis on both the politics and economics of the draft budget speech, follow this page for the views of the BBC's Business and Economy Editor Douglas Fraser and Political Editor Brian Taylor.

     
  4.  

    Post your Tweets on the Scottish Government 2013/14 budget using the hashtag #scotbudget and we'll post the best ones here on the live page text throughout the afternoon.

     
  5.  
    1430:

    Finance Secretary John Swinney says he will work with other parties to "win consensus".

     
  6.  
    1432:

    Mr Swinney sets out context. Says spending restraints imposed on the Scottish government will reduce available spend.

     
  7.  
    Information

    Alex Salmond met with Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday and following that summit he said: "I have again urged the chancellor to perform another budget u-turn by announcing an extra £5bn in capital investment, which would allow us to provide an additional stimulus of more than £400m to support employment in Scotland now."

     
  8.  
    1433:

    Outlines economic data indicating decline in activity - highlights construction industry. Mr Swinney says "shovel-ready" projects identified by the Scottish government would help boost construction.

     
  9.  

    @BBCDouglsFraser John Swinney quickly into talk of 'shovel-ready' projects, calling for Westminster to ease up budget cuts.

     
  10.  
    1434:

    Money is being switched from current spending to capital spending, says Mr Swinney. Spending on housing, for example, should generate £3bn of economic activity. Also draws attention to spending on colleges.

     
  11.  
    1436:

    Mr Swinney outlines support already being given to the business sector. Explains how commitments already made on spending will be met. (Applause in the chamber follows from the SNP benches)

     
  12.  

    @BBCJamesCook John Swinney argues that spending on housing helps with economic growth. Opposition parties will ask why he cut this budget in the past.

     
  13.  
    1438:
    John Swinney John Swinney is finance secretary for the Scottish government

    Single-outcome agreements with local authorities will provide them with additional funds. Finance is also in place, says Mr Swinney for the reforms to police and fire services.

     
  14.  
    1440:

    Mr Swinney praises Scottish Water. Says it has resulted in lower charges in Scotland than in England. Will now "re-deploy" resources from Scottish Water. Also releasing contingency funds from the new Forth crossing. He gives a commitment to keeping Scottish Water in public control.

     
  15.  

    @StuartHousden #RSPB Scotland calls upon John Swinney to 'invest in nature' to underpin rural economy and boost biodiversity.

     
  16.  
    1442:

    Further measures will be introduced to bring empty commercial property back into use. This and other measures will protect local government income.

     
  17.  
    Re-cap

    John Swinney says his budget maintains....

    * a council tax freeze

    * police numbers

    * no tuition fees

    * free prescriptions and concessionary travel

    * and protection for the NHS budget

     
  18.  
    1444:

    There will be £40m of additional spending to support the construction sector. It will also produce more homes. 67 new schools will be built. Existing plans for school building and re-furbishment will be accelerated.

     
  19.  

    @BBCJamesCook Why does no one "keep" a promise any more? Why must they be "delivered" instead?

     
  20.  
    1446:

    Investment in the green economy: £30m will be spent on energy efficiency measures, concentrating on domestic property. Low-emission buses will be encouraged.

     
  21.  
    1446:

    More money for VisitScotland. £1m also for historic buildings.

     
  22.  

    @pickwick SNP budget gets applause for bigging up the advantages of keeping Scottish Water nationalised.

     
  23.  
    1447:

    Mr Swinney says he will build on successes in sport. £1m for elite athletes; and an additional £6m for cycling in the build up to the Commonweath Games in Glasgow.

     
  24.  
    1448:

    On welfare, Mr Swinney says he will mitigate the effects of UK cuts with £23m package of funding. Scotland's core values will be protected by spending priorities chosen by Scottish government.

     
  25.  
    1450:

    Pay restraint will be eased with "modest increases" for public sector workers. Lower paid will see most of the additional money. Increases of around 1%. (Note - those earning under £21,000 had not been affected by the freeze and Mr Swinney's policy applies directly to Scottish government staff, some NHS staff and employees of quangos.)

     
  26.  

    @POPScotland Scottish budget: an extra £6m for cycling infrastructure over the next two years. An improvement, but nowhere near enough.‏

     
  27.  
    1451:

    £17m extra for colleges. New fund to support energy-related education. An additional £15m of money to help create employment in the private sector.

     
  28.  
    1452:

    Mr Swinney says his budget focuses on "driving forward" the Scottish economy.

     
  29.  
    1453:

    Ken Macintosh for Labour says that Mr Swinney is "passing the buck". He asks how do his decisions mitigate the welfare cuts which are coming from the UK government?

     
  30.  

    @MothTwiceborn watching Swinney announcing draft Scottish budget. Can we have him instead of Osborne, please?

     
  31.  
    Information

    What new money did Mr Swinney announce?

    * £40m for affordable housing, starting this year

    * £80m schools for the future programme through NPD

    * Creation of an Energy Skills Academy

    * Employer recruitment initiative for young people

    * £17m for college education and student support

    * Commitment to the "living wage"

    * £6m for cycling

    * £1m for "elite athletes"

    * £2.5m for hybrid buses

    * £1.5m for VisitScotland

    * £1m for historic buildings

     
  32.  

    @BBCJamesCook John Swinney now continuing yesterday's attacks on Iain Duncan Smith's welfare changes, saying he'll spend cash to mitigate London cuts.

     
  33.  
    1455:

    Ken McIntosh responds for Labour. Says economy economy continues to contract "under Mr Swinney's watch". Again Mr Swinney is claiming of any problem "it wisnae me".

     
  34.  

    @BBCDouglsFraser Swinney's budget full of giveaways, but arithmetic of block grant means cuts elsewhere that seem to be missing from speech.

     
  35.  
    1457:

    Mr Swinney draws attention to the problems he inherited from his Labour predecessors. Lists a number of measures - including housing - which show how he has brought about improvements. Says Mr McIntosh is "joined at the hip" with the UK parties making the cuts in welfare.

     
  36.  

    @AngelaS09 Hurrah for John Swinney 1% is better than another year of no percent.

     
  37.  
    1500:

    Gavin Brown, for the Conservatives, says the Scottish government's budget has increased by over £2bn since the SNP took power. Claims most of the new spending announced by Mr Swinney is simply replacing money he has previously cut.

     
  38.  
    1503:

    Mr Swinney says the total budget has been reduced in real terms. If Mr Brown studies the figures, he claims, he will see how the capital budget has been cut by the coalition government at Westminster. Mr Brown should acknowledge how growth has fallen since his party came to power at Westminster. Every measure brought forward by the Scottish government to stimulate the economy, Mr Swinney says, has been opposed by the Conservatives.

     
  39.  
    1505:
    Willie Rennie Willie Rennie says Mr Swinney is not using Scottish Water do its greatest advantage

    Willie Rennie, for the Liberal Democrats, says he hopes they can work constructively with the SNP to protect the economy. Alleges, however, that Mr Swinney has delivered a "timid" budget.

     
  40.  

    @mikeldonnelly John Swinney has clearly worked overtime on this Budget...what other reason could there be for his 'square-go' attitude in the Chamber?

     
  41.  
    1507:

    Mr Swinney says he is surprised at Willie Rennie's lack of enthusiasm for the measures he has taken to release resources from Scottish Water. Claims the alternative of privatising Scottish Water could result in funds being clawed back by the Treasury.

     
  42.  
    1508:

    Nationalist Kenny Gibson praises the budget. Asks for more detail on how capital spending will be accelerated. Mr Swinney says he has been "inventive" in releasing resources but could do more if Scotland was independent.

     
  43.  
    Analysis Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    The pay freeze will directly affect less than 30,000 people. A lot of staff who work for local authorities - teachers included - will have to negotiate with their bosses, he [John Swinney] assumes that councils will apply the same policy, but he doesn't say what will get funded. The unions will point out that 1% is a long way short of the current inflation rate.

     
  44.  
    1510:

    Richard Baker asks why more is not being done about rail investment. Mr Swinney replies that Mr Baker seems to ignore what is being done.

     
  45.  

    @tlazarowicz Typical SNP spin, cut the housing budget by £100 million, then add £40 million back later and claim it's an increase. #ScotBudget

     
  46.  
    1511:

    Maureen Watt asks about colleges. Mr Swinney says he has ensured "secure foundation" for college sector.

     
  47.  
    1513:

    Rhoda Grant asks about shortage of graduate engineers. Will Mr Swinney remove cap on engineering places? He replies that much is already being done to ensure that Scotland reaps rewards available in renewables and other energy industries.

     
  48.  
    1514:

    Bruce Crawford asks about capital investment. Mr Swinney says he has chosen to find measures to compensate for cuts in capital spending imposed from London.

     
  49.  

    @JonathanTuchner Creative Scotland receives core budget of £34.1m in 2013-14. 2% reduction - better or worse than anticipated? #artsfunding

     
  50.  
    1516:

    Mary Scanlon asks about preventitive spend on mental health. Mr Swinney calls it a "fair point"... Health Secretary will reflect on her comments.

     
  51.  
    Analysis Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    On sport - there is a good headline to be had out of this - £1m out of a budget of £34bn, not a great deal, but with the £6m announced for cycling, this is a bit of feel good coming out of the Olympics.

     
  52.  
    1516:

    Colin Beattie asks about the living wage. Finance Secretary confirms his commitment to it.

     
  53.  
    1517:

    Kesia Dugdale asks about young people and employment. Mr Swinney says a total £40m pot will be available to support youth employment.

     
  54.  
    1519:

    Stuart McMillan asks about Scottish Water. Mr Swinney says its capital spending will be protected even under his plans to claw back money.

     
  55.  

    @RetiringViolet I did not agree with several of John Swinney's proposals in the Budget, but by jove is he a skilled politician and effective communicator.

     
  56.  
    Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    Some points to make...

    * Pay thaw - the pay rise is interesting, it symbolises thaw in the freeze.

    * Housing and colleges - evidence there of political sensitivity, he got a kicking in the past on housing and colleges, so there was further retrenchment in this budget today.

    * Who is suffering? In terms of the cuts it does seem to be local government that is suffering, John Swinney is trying to boost capital but the revenue budget is down, the big cut is the local government budget.

     
  57.  
    1521:

    Scottish Green MSP, Patrick Harvey, asks about the cap on public-sector pay. The finance secretary says he accepts the difficulties pay restraint has caused for public sector workers. But his priority has been to protect employment while supporting capital spending.

     
  58.  

    @FW_Gateley Is this wise given past history? RT "@BBCDouglsFraser: John Swinney takes £20m from new Forth crossing contingency reserve"

     
  59.  
    1522:

    Elaine Murray addresses housing. Spending on public-sector housing is in decline, she claims. Mr Swinney says SNP has built more houses than its Labour predecessor.

     
  60.  
    1524:

    Kevin Stewart asks about spending on providing opportunities for young people. Mr Swinney takes opportunity to repeat many of the promises he has made.

     
  61.  
    1526:

    Neil Finlay returns to the subject of colleges... will Mr Swinney reinstate some of the money he has cut from their budgets? Finance Secretary replies that 16-18s now have a guarantee of education or employment.

     
  62.  
    1527:

    Annabel Ewing asks about health. Mr Swinney says spending will support the health boards.

     
  63.  
    1528:

    Jackie Baillie says there is real-terms reduction in health resources. Finance Secretary repeats that Scotland still spends more than the rest of the UK.

     
  64.  
    1529:

    Margo MacDonald asks about the inflation rate in the NHS. Suggests re-visiting PFI deals to reduce payments. Mr Swinney says "good idea". He has looked at contracts and would unpick them if he could.

     
  65.  
    Reaction

    Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) - It welcomed the renewed emphasis on the social and economic benefits of affordable housing investment. The body's Mary Taylor said: "The SFHA welcomes the additional £40m investment in affordable housing announced this afternoon by Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney, to be spent this year. We are extremely pleased that recognises the immediate economic and social benefits for Scotland in building more affordable homes. We also welcome the Government's recognition of the benefits of focusing on construction investment."

     
  66.  
    1532:

    Neil Bibby asks about lack of SNP participation in recent debate on capital spending at Westminster... and how the Scottish budget is good for children. Finance Secretary says the government has brought the key partners together to ensure effective provision of services for children.

     
  67.  
    Reaction

    Shelter Scotland - Director Graeme Brown said: "We welcome the announcement of an extra £40m for affordable housing and the increased focus on the housing sector in today's budget statement."

     
  68.  
    1534:

    Well, that's it for our draft budget coverage live from the Scottish Parliament. For a re-cap on what John Swinney announced, look at our pull-together story. If you want to continue following the action in the chamber go to our Democracy Live website.

     

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