Friday, 28 November 2008




SNP MSP Alex Neil has today written to Iain Gray MSP asking him to clarify where he would cut £500 million from Scotland’s budget as a result of the UK Government’s budget bombshell.

The UK Government’s pre-budget report will remove an estimated £500 million from the Scottish Government’s budget as a result of the UK Health department failure to spend its full capital allocation and so-called efficiency savings to help the UK Government balance its overblown budget.

A £500 million budget cut in the final year of this spending round is equal to the following expenditure from the Scottish Government’s budget for 2010-11 (as in Scottish Budget Spending Review 2007)

1. The entire affordable housing investment programme: £472m

2. Half of the universities budget: £1bn

3. The entire prison budget - £480m

4. The student support budget - £523 million

5. Combination of:Schools budget (£141m)
Climate change budget (£118m)
Alcohol misuse (£47m)
Waiting list budget (£90m)
Abolishing prescription charges (£45m)
Central Heating and Warm deal budgets (£56m)

Total: £497m

SNP MSP Alex Neil said;

“The pre-budget report takes £500 million from the Scottish Government’s budget in 2010 – 11 and exposes the fundamental failure of the current Scottish funding system.

“The Scottish Government put forward responsible plans and won parliamentary approval to spend Scotland’s budget allocation over three years.

“For the UK Government to then come in and take £500 million off that three year deal is a deep disappointment.

“If the £500 million were to be applied directly to Scotland’s budget plans for 2010-11 we could see cuts to the entire prison budget, the halving of the universities budget, the complete abolition of spending on affordable housing or a combination of cuts to schools funding, tackling climate change, supporting an end to fuel poverty and cutting waiting lists.

“Labour has spent months scaremongering about efficiency savings to fund frontline services – now they should explain a genuine cut from Scotland’s budget by the Labour government.

“This cut is an appalling attack on Scotland’s finances, on spending to support Scotland’s economy and public services and must be resisted by all parties in Scotland. As Iain Gray seems so keen to see this money slashed from Scotland’s budget – perhaps he’d like to tell me what he will cut.”

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