On Thursday, the SNP’s Finance Secretary revealed the Scottish government’s draft budget. What are the big changes?
1. Income tax
The most significant announcement, which could have massive financial and political impacts, was the alterations to Scotland’s income tax bands. For months, Labour and the Greens have been calling for radical income tax changes. In the end, the government has made some minor shifts, most notably cutting tax for low-income earners and raising it for those at the top. The new bands can be viewed below.
The SNP are clearly trying to balance calls to be radical from the left with calls to be cautious from the right.
2. The public sector pay cap
Another key announcement was the lifting of the public sector pay-cap which had been in use.
The announcement was coupled with 3% pay increases for public sector workers earning less than £30,000.
The budget also outlines proposals to increase education spending. One flagship announcement is the £120 million to be given “directly” to school heads in order to tackle the attainment gap.
The SNP has for a long time stated that one of its biggest priorities is education.
4. The NHS
Like with education, healthcare is also getting a budget boost. The budget draft sets aside £400 million of “additional investment”. There are also plans to focus on health and care recruitment, including proposals to add an extra 800 GPs in the next decae.
The full budget draft can be read here.