Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has commented on the draft budget announced by Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney today. Alasdair Allan said the choices forced on the Scottish Government by the Conservative Government at Westminster were far from easy, but that the Scottish Government had nonetheless managed to put forward measures which would directly benefit people in the islands.
Commenting, Alasdair Allan said: “The UK Chancellor was determined in his spending review to punish Scotland, resulting in a cut to the budget available to the Scottish Parliament of around 4% over the next three years.
“John Swinney had the task of reacting to this by making decisions as to how that budget should be spent. Despite huge pressures on the resources now available to Scotland, many of the measures John Swinney announced today are very helpful to people in the Western Isles.
“These include continued commitment to rolling out Fibre Broadband across the Highlands and Islands, the increase in the Air Discount Scheme to 50%, as well as the new vessel to serve Tarbert and Lochmaddy. The Cabinet Secretary also announced to Parliament £90 million of money for Scotland for affordable housing and, a transfer of £250 million from NHS to local authorities to support integration of health and social care and £70 million to continue the council tax freeze in 2016-17 for the ninth consecutive year.
“Delivering a budget programme that supports those on lower and middle incomes should be at the heart of our efforts and I believe this budget does just that.”