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  2. MSPs took evidence from Scottish Water on its annual report and accounts and then discuss the possibility of conducting an inquiry into the closure of the Forth Road Bridge
  3. All eyes were were on Finance Secretary John Swinney as he unveiled his draft budget for 2016-17
  4. MSPs backed the general principles of the Land Reform Bill after its first debate

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That brings to an end Holyrood Live's coverage of budget day in the Scottish Parliament

    That brings to an end Holyrood Live's budget coverage on 16 December 2015.

    That ends our coverage of the budget
    Image caption: That ends our coverage of the budget

    For more coverage of the budget and reaction to the meaures announced by John Swinney, go to BBC Scotland's politics online webpage

  2. Budget re-cap: The Scottish government continues its council tax freeze and does not change income tax

    John Swinney announced details of his 2016/17 budget, which included;

    • Income tax rates remain will remain unchanged in Scotland
    • A new 3% Land and Buildings Transaction Tax levy on the purchase of many second homes from April 2016
    • £200m to be invested over the next five years in six new NHS treatment centres
    • Total revenue funding for local government of £9.5bn - which Cosla says amounts to a 3.5% cut
    • A commitment to increase free childcare for three and four-year-olds to 1,140 hours per year in the next parliament
    Scottish currency
    • College funding to be protected, and commitment to free tuition to continue
    • £33m for a school attainment programme as part of plans to close the attainment gap between the wealthiest and most deprived pupils
    • Council tax to be frozen for the ninth consecutive year
    • An additional £55m for Police Scotland, which follows criticism of the effect of merging the eight regional forces into a single national force
    • An extra £45m next year to fund improvements and develop new models of primary health care
    • An increase of £90m in the budget for affordable housing for next year
  3. MSPs back the general prinicples of the Land Reform Bill

    MSPs back the general prinicples of the Land Reform Bill, with 100 MSPs backing it and 15 voting against.

    Scottish land behind a gate
  4. Points of order or not points of order - Not says the PO

    Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald raises a point of order on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, following the budget statement earlier today.

    Mr Macdonald says Transport Scotland are unaware of how work on the Haudagain roundabout will go ahead in 2016/17.

    Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick

    Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick says the minister is responsible for what he says.

    SNP MSP Gil Paterson uses a point of order to wish the people near the Haudagain roundabout a Merry Christmas.

    Ms Marwick says this is not a point of order. 

  5. The minister calls on the chamber to back the general principles of the Land Reform Bill

    The minister calls on the chamber to back the general principles of the Land Reform Bill at decision time, which we now turn to.

    Richard Lochhead
  6. Minister says the government will respond to the committee very shortly

    Mr Lochhead says since 2007 the government has updated and modernised land registration.

    The minister says it has also continued to support community land ownership.

    He says the government will respond to the committee very shortly.

    The rural affairs minister says the government is taking time to consider the committee's report. 

  7. Land Reform Bill debate: Government closing

    Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead says there is very extensive interest in land reform in this country and there is a call for radical reform in this legislation.

    Mr Lochhead says the Conservatives will not be voting for the legislation this evening and warns that they should not scaremonger over the bill.

    Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead

    He says the demand for land reform is driven largely by those living in rural areas.

    The cabinet secretary says the government is listening to the views of members and the views of the Rural Affairs Committee.

  8. Land Reform Bill debate: 'Scottish government should not run scared' on bill - Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Claudia Beamish says over 200 submissions came in to the committee regarding this bill.

    Ms Beamish thanks the committee clerks and SPICe for their support.

    Labour MSP Claudia Beamish

    The Labour MSP says the bill must be clearer.

    She says the 'Scottish government should not run scared" of what the bill can achieve and that they should make it as good as it can be because it is in the public interest. 

  9. Land Reform Bill debate: Conservative closing

    Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser reiterates his disappointment the government's response to the Rural Affairs Committee report was not made available ahead of this debate.

    Mr Fraser says there are concerns around the agricultural holdings part of the bill.

    Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser

    He says there is no consensus as to the way forward in this very complex area of law.

    The Tory MSP says if the Scottish government is a listening government it needs to take this whole section out of the bill. 

  10. Budget reaction: Summary from our political correspondent Andrew Kerr

    Income tax will remain frozen as will council tax payments, the finance secretary has revealed in his budget for the next year. 

    But John Swinney's opponents have criticised him for complaining about austerity, while not using new powers to raise taxes. 

    Meanwhile, local government representatives are furious that £350-million will be cut from their budget. 

    Changed days for John Swinney - he's now able to set an income tax rate for Scotland. 

    He said there was no flexibility though - a tax break for the poorest would also benefit the richest. 


    Mr Swinney had complained about austerity and Tory cuts, but in the chamber at Holyrood the Conservatives accused him of "flunking it".

    They said he chose not to increase the money available. 

    The council tax freeze has been kept, NHS, schools, police and childcare spending has been protected, but local government faces a cut of £350m, or six per cent. 

    The umbrella body COSLA says that's catastrophic for jobs and services, while Labour called it "devastating".   

  11. Budget Reaction: Analysis

    Brian Taylor

    BBC Scotland Political Editor

    It was, said John Swinney, a budget statement which covered but a single year; 2016/17. The tardiness of the Chancellor's announcements, themselves dictated by the UK election timetable, pre-empted any prospect of a full forward review of Scottish spending plans.

    However, there were some future indications. In particular, did we get a glimpse of Mr Swinney's thoughts on transforming local authority taxation?

    I think we did. Mr Swinney said he would study the report from the Commission on Local Taxation and, in the New Year, "set out plans to reform the council tax". Reform, note, not replace.

    Further, he said he would talk to councils about trying to find ways of assigning a proportion of income tax receipts to local authorities as "an incentive to boost economic growth in their areas".

  12. Scottish Secretary David Mundell welcomes no change to income tax in Scotland

    David Mundell
    Quote Message: I do not think Scots should pay more than our neighbours in tax." from David Mundell Scottish Secretary of State
    David MundellScottish Secretary of State

    Reacting the Scottish government's draft budget for 2016/17, Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said he welcomed a decision not to change income tax in Scotland from the rest of the UK. 

    He added: "I do not think Scots should pay more than our neighbours in tax. But this is a deliberate choice which he [John Swinney] has made, as is his choice to maintain the council tax freeze on Scottish local authorities. 

    "He says he wants to follow George Osborne's lead on spending on the NHS, schools and policing, which he is able to do thanks to the protection offered to Scottish government budgets by the Barnett Formula. 

    "It's another clear example of the benefit Scotland gains from being a part of the United Kingdom, where we share risks and pool resources."

  13. Land Reform Bill debate: Scottish Green view

    Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone urges Scottish ministers to improve the Land Reform Bill to tackle tax avoidance and secrecy, and give tenant farmers a right to buy.

    The Green MSP says she will vote tonight to support the Bill at stage one, while warning that improvements are needed to deliver the bold legislation that Scotland deserves.

    Green MSP Alison Johnstone
    Image caption: Green MSP Alison Johnstone

    Ms Johnstone says access to Land and ownership of it is unequal. 

    She calls for improving transparency and says what the government proposes is completely unworkable because it limits the ability to reveal who is in control of land.

  14. Forecasts of devolved tax revenues are 'reasonable' says the Scottish Fiscal Commission

    Quote Message: Our conclusion is based on thorough assessment of the forecasting methodologies - we have looked for evidence to support the government's approach, and challenged the government to improve its approach." from Susan Rice Scottish Fiscal Commission chairwoman
    Susan RiceScottish Fiscal Commission chairwoman
    Susan Rice

    The Scottish Fiscal Commission has looked at the the draft budget and concluded that "overall" forecasts of devolved tax revenues for 2016/17 are "reasonable". 

    Susan Rice, the commission's chairwoman, said: "While forecasts, of course, are never 'right', we have challenged the forecasters to enhance aspects of their models to ensure that forecasts are as close as possible to what will happen."

  15. Scottish Budget: The reaction in quotes

    For a wide array of reactions to the budget statement click here.

    There has been a wide array of responses to John Swinney's budget statement
    Image caption: There has been a wide array of responses to John Swinney's budget statement
    Quote Message: "By 2020 our budget will be 12.5% lower in real terms than when the Conservatives came to power. That is the equivalent of one pound in every eight that we spend being cut by Westminster by 2020." from Finance Secretary John Swinney
    Finance Secretary John Swinney
  16. Budget Reaction: Culture cuts

    Pauline McLean

    BBC Scotland Arts Correspondent

    Today's budget means a £3.6 per cent cut for Creative Scotland whose grant aid has been reduced to £32 million pounds. 

    The arts body will meet next week to consider how to manage the reduced budget - which is shared among hundreds of cultural organisations. 

    Lottery funds are unaffected by the cuts, and are expected to remain stable for the coming year. 

  17. Breaking News: Scotland Bill could be 're-ordered'

    The UK government has said that the passage of the legislation to bring more devolution to Scotland could be ''re-ordered'' to allow more time to get a deal on the financial aspects of the plans. 

    Earlier this week the First minister, Nicola Sturgeon and the Prime Minster, David Cameron, agreed they they wanted agreement on the so called fiscal framework by the middle of February next year. 

    UK and Scottish flags

    This will help underpin the rules and practices surrounding the future ability of Holyrood to make decisions on taxation, borrowing and welfare payments. 

    Answering a question in the House of Lords this afternoon, the minister Lord Dunlop said the so called committee stage of the Scotland bill could be ''re-ordered'' to allow more time to strike a deal. 

    Both the UK and Scottish governments say they want the Scotland bill passed into law well ahead of next year's Holyrood elections in May

  18. Budget reaction: Scottish government remains committed to long-held 'free to use' policies

    John Swinney told MSPs that his government would continue to help family budgets through continuing initiatives such as:

    • free prescriptions and regular eye checks
    • free concessionary travel to older, disabled and young people
    • and free school meals for children in P1 to P3 
    School meals
  19. Land Reform Bill debate: Lib Dem view

    Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott says the need to scrutinise this very large piece of legislation is a large challenge.

    Mr Scott says he hopes the Scottish government will listen to feedback on this complex bill. 

    Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott

     The Lib Dem MSP says the debate about land owners and who or what they might be is "pretty tired".