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Scottish Government Debate: Scottish Government Priorities: Investing in Scotland's Public Services

Thursday 13 June 2024 3:13 PM


Shona Robison S6M-13602 That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Government’s continued investment in public services and shares its commitment to maintaining high-quality services that people in Scotland need; recognises the key role that the workforce plays in delivering public services and welcomes that public sector pay is higher in Scotland than other parts of the UK; acknowledges the importance of a socially just and progressive approach to public service design and delivery, underpinned by fair work and a progressive tax policy; agrees that the UK Spring Budget fell far short of what Scotland needs to deliver further investment in public services and infrastructure, and will result in a cut in the Scottish core block grant of around £0.4 billion in real terms in 2024-25 compared with 2022-23; is concerned that significant, real-terms spending cuts, assessed by the Institute of Fiscal Studies as being up to £20 billion by 2028 across the UK, will be needed as a result of the economic plans of either a Labour or Conservative UK administration; calls on the incoming UK administration to bring forward an emergency budget to restore the £1.3 billion cut in Scotland's capital budget, and notes that, for as long as the Scottish Government remains on a fixed budget under the current devolution settlement, there are limits to what it can achieve in terms of investment in public services. Liz Smith S6M-13602.1 As an amendment to motion S6M-13602 in the name of Shona Robison (Scottish Government Priorities: Investing in Scotland’s Public Services), leave out from "acknowledges" to end and insert "notes that, in so many areas of devolved public services in Scotland such as education, health, local government, housing and justice, there has been a marked deterioration in the services provided over the last 17 years; acknowledges that Scotland is now the most highly taxed part of the UK and that people are paying more yet getting less from their public services; is concerned that, despite the Scottish Government receiving a record block grant, the failure of the New Deal for Business and the Scottish Government’s lack of emphasis on economic growth have contributed to a very challenging fiscal environment, and calls on the Scottish Government to put in place economic policies that will reform the public sector, improve skills and training, reduce the tax burden and foster new investment and growth opportunities across the economy." Mark Griffin S6M-13602.2 As an amendment to motion S6M-13602 in the name of Shona Robison (Scottish Government Priorities: Investing in Scotland’s Public Services), leave out from first "welcomes" to end and insert "recognises that communities across Scotland are being failed by the Scottish National Party (SNP) administration’s approach to reform and funding of Scotland’s public services; notes that there are significant issues across Scotland’s vital public services, including in the NHS, education, local government and housing, and that these issues are having a real impact on inequality; understands that the SNP has consistently failed to deliver the reform that Scotland’s public services have desperately needed over the last 17 years; recognises that funding for local authorities has been cut by a cumulative total of over £6 billion since 2014, resulting in local authorities across Scotland being forced to make difficult decisions on the provision of essential services in order to make ends meet; understands that the NHS is particularly impacted by the SNP’s failure to deliver reform, with £1.3 billion spent on delayed discharge since the Scottish Government committed to eradicate it, and millions spent every year on agency staff; recognises the invaluable contribution of Scotland’s public sector workers, who deliver the services that people rely on in challenging circumstances; believes that improving the terms and conditions of workers across the public sector is essential, especially in areas such as social care; understands that financial mismanagement and a failure to deliver economic growth has resulted in less money being generated for investment in public services; recognises the role that technology can play in improving public services, and calls on the Scottish Government to prioritise economic growth to boost wages and create jobs in all parts of Scotland, as well as financial competence and transparency to ensure that all taxpayer money is used effectively and towards delivering the support and reform that Scotland’s public services desperately need."

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