As-it-happened: Scottish government draft budget for 2014/15

Key Points

  • Finance Secretary John Swinney presented his draft budget for 2014/15 to MSPs at the Scottish Parliament.
  • The minister told MSPs that £20m would be made available to ease the burden of benefit cuts due to new spare bedroom rules.
  • As predicted, Mr Swinney confirmed that the cost of the new Queensferry crossing had been cut by £145m, releasing funds.

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  1.  
    1430:

    Hello and welcome to our Live Page coverage of Finance Secretary John Swinney delivering his Ministerial Statement: Draft Budget 2014-15. He is due to get to his feet n about about 10 minutes.

     
  2.  

    To follow the debate on social use #SP4.

     
  3.  
    1431: Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    "The UK welfare cuts have caused controversy. The Scottish government will try to "ameliorate" benefits cuts. They are not responsible for welfare and the Scottish government say they are extremely limited in what they can do in this area. They have an extremely tight budget and rules over what they can do."

     
  4.  
    1434:

    John Swinney will say it's a budget for independence, Brian Taylor says. The budget will cover plans for the the next two years which will go past the independence vote next year.

     
  5.  

    @AndrewSouthside Will John Swinney announce in his budget that the £145 saved on the Queensferry Crossing will be used to fund #GARL

     
  6.  
    1435:

    An £145m under spend on the Queensferry Crossing, which is being built over the Forth of Firth, will probably be diverted to capital spending, Brian Taylor says.

     
  7.  
    1436:

    Commentator Alf Young says he can't understand the number quoted for the new Forth Bridge. He does not no where the £145m has come from, because the bridge has not been built yet. How they can say they have saved the money until the bridge is built, I don't know, he adds.

     
  8.  
    1438:

    Alf Young goes on to say they will have less to spend in real terms because inflation is still higher than it should be.

     
  9.  

    @kathsamsonitv John Swinney about to set out a 'budget for independence' to MSPs at Holyrood. Opponents say he's putting the country 'on pause.'‏

     
  10.  
    1439: Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    "The budget for 2014-15 will be set out as normal. But there is an "anomaly" from the Westminster spending review so there will also be plans for an extra year. These will be "indicative" plans for 2015-16."

     
  11.  
    1441:
    John Swinney John Swinney delivers his draft budget

    It is a budget which demonstrates the benefit of decisions being made here, says John Swinney as he opens his budget statement

     
  12.  
    1442:

    With the full decision-making powers of independence he would be able to put Scotland's strengths to good use, he says. But instead Westminster's programme of cuts is taking money out of the Scottish economy he says.

     
  13.  

    @WWFScotland the #budget2014 is an opportunity for the Scottish Government to tackle climate change. Will they take it?

     
  14.  
    1442:

    John Swinney says the policies the Scottish government has in place are having some impact on the economy and employment. Scotland's recovery is not happening because of austerity, it is taking place in spite of austerity, he says.

     
  15.  
    1443:

    Spending plans are focussed on accelerating economic recovery through investment, he says.

     
  16.  
    1445:

    Net domestic product (NDP) investment is lower than forecast, says John Swnney. He says the benefit of taking tiime to properly do projects is showing in the savings made on the Queensferry crossing.

     
  17.  

    @BBCDouglasF John Swinney on his feet at Holyrood and on BBC2 Scotland now. I'm in the studio with @BBCandrewkerr and Alf Young

     
  18.  
    1446:

    He will support the housing market. At least 20,000 new houses will be for social rent, he says. More money will be investment in affordable housing, he adds.

     
  19.  

    @BBCDouglasF John Swinney today sets out 2 years of @scotgov spending plans

     
  20.  
    1448:

    £8bn will be invested in Scotland's infrastructure over the next two years, he says.

     
  21.  
    1448:

    The budget confirms a major investment in digital technology. New targets on superfast broadband are made by 2017.

     
  22.  
    1449:

    Renewable energy investment fund extended by a year.

     
  23.  
    1450:

    £40m investment in sustainable transport. £20m extra in cycling to support "active travel".

     
  24.  

    @EdwardHarkins Sad that @JohnSwinney copies England with #HelptoBuy Scotland; irresponsible, ineffective populism?

     
  25.  
    1451:

    Extended funded for modern apprenticeships. Free higher education will continue, John Swinney says. He says budget delivers on commitment for colleges. The budget will increase for further education colleges he says.

     
  26.  
    1452:

    Additional early learning and childcare commitments will be funded to help women get back into work, says Mr Swinney.

     
  27.  
    1453:

    Mr Swinney lists all the free service such as prescriptions and free bus passes for pensioners which will continue.

     
  28.  

    @greggerswilliam Hopefully if/when the nats lose #indyref they'll stop these 'advertisement for indy' budgets & get on with governing the country

     
  29.  
    1454:

    The Finance Secretary says that public service reform - clear expectation on public sector to work together and share budgets.

     
  30.  
    Duncan Scorgie

    Yawn, more blaming Westminster and "austerity". I would vote for independence if it would lead to real, much-needed reform in public sector services. But instead the SNP are demonstrating once again that they would use independence to bankrupt the country.

     
  31.  

    ‏@Jerachi @theSNP have backed their commitment to keep universal benefits, will labour ever do the same?

     
  32.  
    1459:

    Mr Swinney agrees that the so-called bedroom tax should be abolished. With independence he says it would be abolished. He says he will commit £21m from elsewhere to help those struggling most with the bedroom tax

     
  33.  

    @mgshanks Look forward to reading the detail, but good to hear support for pay progression and Living Wage committment

     
  34.  
    1501:

    Mr Swinney ends his statement and is followed by Labour finance spokesman Iain Gray.

     
  35.  

    @JimSlaven I suppose Budget For Dominion Status doesn't have the same ring to it. #Budget2014 is just more of the same. We need real change

     
  36.  
    1503:

    Iain Gray says he agrees that the bedroom tax is "iniquitous" but Mr Swinney should have banished the bedroom tax from Scotland

     
  37.  
    1505:

    There is a "fundamental incoherence" in Mr Gray's argument says Mr Swinney. He says the Westminster government has legislated on the bedroom tax, he says

     
  38.  

    @ADBremner Oh...No here comes Ian Gray. We are about to be reminded why the SNP won a landslide

     
  39.  
    1505:

    Gavin Brown for the Tories says the budget should have been about the economy but it was a budget which "under-promised and undelivered". Why does he penalise business?, he asks. Mr Brown says business rates will be going up. Is this one of the benefits of decision-making being made here?

     
  40.  
    1507:

    Mr Brown says that college funding has been cut in recent years but Mr Swinney says that because he is planning to raise it he calls it an increase in funding.

     
  41.  
    1509:

    On the question of business rates, Mr Swinney says don't forget about inflation. Mr Brown should look at the rest of the UK, which is rising in much the same way as Scotland, adds the minister. He goes on to say that he doesn't know what the Tory MSP's complaint is about spending on education.

     
  42.  

    @BBCJamesCook Labour's Iain Gray says John Swinney should have gone further and banished the "bedroom tax" altogether.

     
  43.  
    1510:

    The council tax is being frozen again. Commentator Alf Young says what is the point of the councils having tax-raising powers if they are never able to do that.

     
  44.  

    @jsteve372 John Swinney has presided over #FEcuts #indyref #neoliberalism

     
  45.  

    @EddieBarnes23 Striking how Brownite language still persists. John Swinney never spends, he invests.

     
  46.  
    1509:

    Analysis: Alf Young says "there is clearly a lot of politics in the budget". He says some of the announcements are "tiny bits of money being shuffled about from here to there". Where is the bigger picture here, he asks

     
  47.  
    1511:

    Mr Young says we should also debate the continuation of free universal services such as presciptions and bus passes

     
  48.  

    @cllrdmeikle Why are the responses from opposition Finance spokespersons so short? Time limit? #Budget2014

     
  49.  
    1512:

    Douglas Fraser says the argument from the SNP is "look at all the decisions the Scottish parliament has made over 14 years, isn't this better than decisions made at Westminster?"

     
  50.  

    @JimSlaven Alf Young spot on. #Budget2014 is a sideshow, no party has a vision for the future. It's business as usual for capitalism. #pathetic #sp4

     
  51.  
    1513:

    Douglas Fraser says Labour is in a bit of mess over what to do with bedroom tax so it is a "weak attacking point for Mr Gray"

     
  52.  
    1514:

    Douglas Fraser says the total take from business through business rates remains pretty high and is rising. He says there are some measures to ameliorate for smaller businesses but generally more is being taken from business

     
  53.  
    1515:

    Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie says Mr Swinney's budget makes no mention of the rise in unemployment announced today. He urges the minister to look at better plans for the funding of colleges and the funding of nursery places for two-year-olds.

     
  54.  

    @fairlynuts I love wading through these budget documents. Just found a dedicated line for a Bull Stud Farm. #budget2014

     
  55.  
    1514:

    Mr Swinney answers Mr Rennie's concerns. He says he is pleased with the growing number of apprenticeship places. The minister says that £190m has being announced for childcare provision. He urges Mr Rennie to "have good grace" and "welcome" that.

     
  56.  
    Budget recap

    The Scottish government says it will.....

    • Fully fund 125 additional hours of early learning and childcare to a total of over £190m
    • "Drive investment" in affordable housing of over £1.35bn over 4 years
    • Provide £24m for a National Performance Centre for Sport
    • Secure £8bn of infrastructure investment over the next two years
    • Invest £522m in colleges next year rising to £526m in 2015-16
    • Provide at least £68m in each of the next two years to mitigate the impact of UK welfare cuts and a further £20m this financial year to limit the impact of the "bedroom tax"
    • Put £33m per year into the Scottish Welfare Fund
    • Maintain a council tax freeze across Scotland
    • Provide £120m funding in 2015-16 to assist health and social care integration
     
  57.  

    ‏@alexmassie I like Swinney. And I'd like him to have greater fiscal powers. But quite tough arguing good news demands indy & bad news does too

     
  58.  
    1517:

    Aileen McLeod, SNP MSP, asks what the Scottish government could have done differently if there had been independence. Mr Swinney says they would certainly never have introduced the "bedroom tax".

     
  59.  

    @antibedtaxfed No mention from John Swinney of lifting the threat of Evictions of tenants due to Bedroom Tax arrears! #ScotBudget

     
  60.  
    1519:

    In response to a question from Chic Brodie, Mr Swinney says 12 months ago the priority was to improve the economic conditions in Scotland. He says they have done that but they are constrained in what they can do.

     
  61.  
    James Chisholm

    The United Nations has sent UN Human Rights watchdog, Special Rapporteur Raquel Rolnik to Britain to investigate the link between the infamous "Bedroom Tax" eviction threats and rates of suicides in Britain.

     
  62.  
    1522:

    Labour MSP Neil Bibby asks if there is actually a real terms increase for colleges. Mr Swinney says Mr Bibby "would be well-served to welcome the extra resources being put into the college sector".

     
  63.  

    @gpaterson8 Watching #Budget2014 on tv in #scotparl Committee Room 1... without audio... Trying to guess budget by MSPs facial expressions alone!

     
  64.  
    1523:

    Annabel Ewing asks how the money saved on the Queensferry Crossing will be spent. Mr Swinney says the £145m estimated savings will be allocated to support the priorities of the government such as the housing commitments.

     
  65.  

    ‏@stuarttooley Scot #Budget2014 debate only allowing one sentence questions, and two para answers. Not the way to conduct scrutiny in a modern democracy.

     
  66.  
    1527:

    Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green MSP, asks for transparency on spending on "active travel". Mr Swinney says he can sympathise with Mr Harvie because the information is sometimes spread across different elements. He says he is happy to simplify the information for him. Mr Swinney says more has been done to support cycling in the budget.

     
  67.  

    ‏@keithirving1 Pleased that Cycling, Walking&Safer Routes and Vacant&Derelict Land Funds up 46% in 14-15. #Budget2014

     
  68.  
    Jim Gardiner

    Right to blame Westminster, they take our oil revenues and give it away to foreign countries, they don't even spend it on their own England. Independence is only way to get a government we vote for.

     
  69.  
    1531:

    Anne McTaggart, Labour, says the budget is a further squeeze on local government. Mr Swinney says local government in Scotland has been "very fairly treated in comparison with local councils south of the border". He says he will look forward to Labour committing itself to more funding for local government but they have never done it so far he says.

     
  70.  
    1535:

    Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick keeps up the pace - and manages to get through nearly 16 contributors within a little over 15 minutes.

     
  71.  
    Stuart McLellan

    How about the Scottish government supports its emergency services and public sector employees and use the monies on the Queensferry crossing to stop the current public sector pension reforms.

     
  72.  
    1534:

    Independent MSP Margo Macdonald says she is pleased that Mr Swinney endorses the continued public ownership of Scottish Water.

     
  73.  
    1537:

    Jim Eadie, SNP, returns to the issue of cycling investment and welcomes the government's £20m commitment. Mr Swinney says he is keen to strengthen cycling infrastructure in Scotland.

     
  74.  
    1538:

    That question from Jim Eadie was the final one of the session and brings to a close the debate for this afternoon.

     
  75.  

    @EddieBarnes23 House! Swinney "gently points out" something to a Labour MSP. Contagious #Salmondisms

     
  76.  
    1539:

    .... and that's it for our live text and video coverage of Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney's draft budget statement. Join us again tomorrow at 12 noon when we will be covering First Minister's Questions with Alex Salmond.

     

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