In October, Rishi Sunak delivered a ground-breaking Budget for Scotland.
The biggest block grant since devolution, £4.6 billion extra for public services, and an average annual Budget of £41 billion, for at least three years.
But we must make the most of this outstanding funding.
At the Scottish Budget, the Scottish Conservatives are calling for a number of key economic policies to kick-start our financial recovery, and deliver for the priorities of ordinary Scots.
We have been the only party to consistently stand up for Scottish jobs and livelihoods – and unlike many of our SNP, Green and Labour counterparts, we recognise that a healthy economy is essential to our nation’s quality of life.
We are determined to continue to hold the SNP Government to account on the economy – and provide Scotland’s real alternative to the anti-growth, anti-business agenda of the SNP-Green coalition.
Read on for the six key demands the SNP must deliver in Thursday’s budget, to support our economic recovery and build a stronger Scotland.
1 | Support Scottish businesses to recover from the pandemic
We are calling for a full year of 75% rates relief for leisure, hospitality, retail, aviation and newspaper businesses, and a freeze on the poundage for rates for all businesses.
These measures will save Scottish businesses an estimated £600million over the next financial year, and prevent jobs and enterprises being wiped out by a sudden tax bill in April.
We are also calling on the government to deliver a rates exemption for decarbonisation upgrades to businesses, to help Scottish industry make the journey toward Net Zero.
2 | Restore our NHS with Rishi Sunak’s budget boost
Scotland’s NHS needs urgent investment.
The UK Government has pledged billions of pounds to rebuild the NHS across the UK and tackle the healthcare backlog. As a result, Scotland is set to receive £2.1 billion in healthcare consequentials – and we are calling on the Scottish Government to ensure that every penny is passed directly to our struggling NHS. \
3 | Fair funding for local councils
We are calling on the SNP Government to finally provide fair funding for local councils, by passing on the UK Government’s block grant boost.
That will mean an extra £1.2 billion in funding for local government, to support essential public services, such as libraries, leisure centres, bin collections and street lighting.
The failure to upgrade major road networks presents a huge risk to the safety of drivers, and is causing parts of rural Scotland to miss out on vital investment.
We are calling on the SNP to ensure every penny of their previous £2.2billion commitment is invested in improving Scotland’s road network, within five years.
We are calling on the SNP to dedicate £55million to reinstating the Help to Buy scheme, in order to help Scots get on the property ladder.
We are also demanding a rise in the threshold for paying the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax from £175,000 to £250,000 for first-time buyers.
Together, these measures represent £65million of support for first-time buyers and bring the dream of home ownership within reach, for thousands of young Scots.
Scotland’s police force and justice system have suffered years of under-funding from the SNP, that has left violent crime on the rise, and eroded victims’ rights.
We are calling on the SNP Government to reverse this shameful trend and invest an extra £62million of this Budget into restoring our failing justice system – and keeping the Scottish public safe.