Labour must back budget

Renfrewshire MSP and Finance Secretary Derek Mackay is calling on local Labour politicians to stop political point scoring and get behind the Scottish budget, a budget he says is good for Renfrewshire.

Mr Mackay has expressed his disappointment that local Labour politicians have chosen to ignore the funding and investment which will be coming to Renfrewshire, and instead advocate policies which would see less money being available to local services.

In December Mr Mackay set out the draft Scottish budget for 2018/2019. The budget included an additional £400 million for the NHS, £600 million towards ensuring every home and business has access to superfast broadband by 2021 and a quarter of a billion pounds towards expanding free nursery education. Local government funding has also been protected by the SNP Scottish Government.

Plans to lift the public sector pay cap were also announced, providing a guaranteed minimum pay increase of 3% for our NHS staff, police and teachers who earn up to £30,000, and a 2% increase for those over it.

£18 million was also allocated in the budget towards the National Manufacturing Institute which is to be based in Inchinnan.

Speaking Mr Mackay said:

“The draft budget I announced in December is good for Renfrewshire. Additional funding for the NHS, more money to expand free nursery and childcare provision and more affordable homes are all things which will benefit local people.

“But, do we hear local Labour politicians welcoming this? Do we hear any welcome to the fact that local government funding has been protected, or that more money is being invested in our NHS? No.

“Or do we hear any positivity coming from the fact that Renfrewshire will home Scotland’s national manufacturing institute, bringing jobs to the area? I have not heard a word. Which has been hugely disappointing.

“This all proves yet again that Labour don’t care about Renfrewshire, or local jobs and growth, they only care about cheap political point scoring.

“The income tax policy I announced sets the top rate of tax at a level that will generate the most income with the least risk of losing revenues next year and damaging the economy. Our modelling indicates that, had we gone further and followed Labour’s policy, once behavioural effects and forestalling are considered, a higher rate could reduce income tax revenues next year.

“Is that seriously what local Labour politicians are advocating? Less money for public services? Because that is exactly what Labour’s income tax plans would result in. Less money for Councils, less money for the NHS and less money for nursery education and childcare.

“It is time local Labour politicians put Renfrewshire first, and get behind this Scottish budget; a budget which will see investment and jobs coming to Renfrewshire, local government funding protected and investment in frontline services.”

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