An Overview of the Scottish Government's Draft Budget for 2014-15


John Swinney has unveiled the Scottish Government's Draft Budget for 2014-2015, as well as its indicative spending plans for 2015-2016.

The Draft Budget identifies the Scottish Government's priorities as:

1. accelerating economic recovery;
2. maintaining their commitment to social wage policies as well as addressing welfare reform; and
3. protecting public services through a programme of public service reform.
Key Points

The key points in the Draft Budget are as follows:
the Scottish Government's budget has been cut by approximately 11% between 2010-2011 and 2015-16;
the Scottish Government will use Capital Borrowing powers of up to £296 million in 2015-16 to support their investment programme;
the Scottish Government intends to invest £1.35 billion over the next four years in affordable housing;
£200 million will be provided to schemes to promote a low carbon economy, including the National Renewables Infrastructure Fund. This Fund will be extended until 2015-2016;
the Scottish Government will continue to provide funding for Modern Apprenticeships and other youth employment initiatives. Investment will also be made in the college sector and the higher education sector;
the new Scottish taxes (the Land and Buildings Transaction tax, replacing SDLT, and the Scottish Landfill tax if agreed by the Scottish Parliament) will be applied;
the costs of delivering the new Queensferry Crossing have been cut by £145 million. Other transportation investment will include: completing procurement of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) and continued investment in other motorways and trunk roads; modernisation of the Glasgow subway; continued investment in the Borders railway; and continued design, development, and delivery of the rail route between Edinburgh and Glasgow;
£24 million will be invested in establishing a National Performance Centre following on from the 2014 Commonwealth Games;
£280 million will be invested in two major contracts with BT to provide superfast broadband to 95 per cent of premises in Scotland by 2017-2018;
the Council tax freeze will be maintained in 2014-15 and potentially into 2015-16; and
the increase on business rates applied to large retailers selling tobacco and alcohol will continue until 2015.

What Next?

In July this year, the Scottish Parliament called for written evidence from interested parties on the Draft Budget, the deadline for which has now passed. The Finance Committee is now in the process of scrutinising and producing a report on the Draft Budget.

The report will then be debated before the Scottish Parliament on a motion from the Finance Committee prior to the Christmas recess. Committees and individual members may then propose amendments to the Draft Budget. However, these amendments may not seek to increase the total spend which is proposed in the Draft Budget.

Following on from the debate, the Scottish Government will introduce a Budget Bill by 20th January 2014 or the first day thereafter on which the Parliament sits.