Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney announced his Draft Budget for 2013/14 today (Thursday) which will bring some positives for the Western Isles.
There will be a real terms increase in funding to NHS Western Isles giving them £60.7m, an extra £1.6m compared to 2012/13. In 2014/15 this will rise again to £62.2m.
The draft budget presented to the Scottish Parliament also includeS an increase in funding to Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) with a committment to retain the Air Discount Scheme (ADS) and fund PSP air services to Barra.
RET spending also increases to £4.5m and then to £6m in 2013/14.
Setting out the budget to Parliament, Finance Secretary John Swinney pledged £180 million over two years for construction, skills and employment and a green economic stimulus. He also confirmed more rapid delivery of the Schools for the Future programme worth £80 million.
Reinforcing the Government’s commitment to young people Mr Swinney announced an initiative to create up to 10,000 job opportunities for young Scots.
The Budget maintains the Government’s commitments to a council tax freeze, police numbers, no tuition fees, free prescriptions and concessionary travel, with protection for the NHS budget.
Announcements today include:
£40 million for affordable housing, starting this year
£80 million Schools for the Future programme through NPD
Creation of an Energy Skills Academy
Employer recruitment initiative for young people
£17 million for college education and student support
Commitment to the Living Wage
£6 million for cycling
£1 million for Elite athletes
£2.5 million for hybrid buses
£1.5 million for VisitScotland
£1 million for historic buildings
The Finance Secretary also confirmed a 1% increase for most Government and NHS employees, with additional support for the low paid, continued implementation of the Scottish Living Wage and no compulsory redundancies.