SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Aileen McLeod has welcomed John Swinney’s draft budget which pledged a further £288m increase to the NHS in Scotland.
The MP says The increase of £256 million in health resource spending announced by John Swinney, which exceeds the Barnett consequentials, will see a 2.2 per cent increase in frontline NHS resource spending. Additional capital funding will take the overall increase to £288m in 2015-16, bringing the total health budget to £12.16 billion.
The budget also includes significant new financial support for the housing sector – and investment to deliver 6,000 affordable homes – as well as a £300m investment in childcare and a £4.5bn investment in infrastructure.
Mr Swinney also pledged to continue the Scottish Government’s £81m funding to mitigate the impact of Westminster’s welfare cuts including the Bedroom Tax.
Aileen said: “The £288m increase in the NHS budget announced yesterday will be welcomed across the country – and should be welcomed across the Parliament. That the SNP in government has managed to not only pass on the Barnett consequentials to our frontline health service at a time of substantial cuts handed down the line from Westminster – but has managed to invest an extra £86m in health is testament to this government’s commitment to our NHS.
“The fact that the Scottish Government will also continue much needed investment to protect vulnerable people from the Bedroom Tax and Westminster’s other unfair welfare cuts is also welcome – but the fact that these measures are necessary is a depressing comment on the impact of Westminster’s austerity agenda.
“We’ve always been clear that Westminster’s welfare cuts are utterly misguided. The fact that we have to pay to mitigate the unfair policies of a Tory-led government Scotland didn’t vote for shows exactly why powers over welfare should be in Scotland’s hands – so we can use the welfare state to support vulnerable people rather than punishing them.
“This budget demonstrates the vastly different priorities of Scotland and Westminster. We are investing in jobs and infrastructure, protecting our NHS and defending vulnerable people from Westminster’s ideological obsession with austerity.
“With the limited powers currently at our disposal we have taken strong action to deliver for the people of Scotland – the Westminster parties must now deliver the substantial economic and welfare powers we need to make Scotland an even more prosperous and fairer country. The people of Scotland will accept nothing less.”