Local MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the Scottish budget's record investment in the Dumfries and Galloway's NHS and its extension of social care, the living wage, housebuilding and free childcare in the region. She said the budget protected public services in the face of Tory austerity.
Finance Secretary John Swinney outlined an extra £500 million investment in the NHS, taking spending to nearly £13 billion for the first time – in spite of £3.9 billion of cuts to Scotland’s budget.
Ms McAlpine said:
“This is a budget that takes decisive action to deliver inclusive growth and support public services while protecting, not burdening, those on the lowest incomes.
“A record investment of £13 billion in the NHS is not easy to achieve when you put it in context of £3.9 billion cuts in Scotland’s overall budget from 2010 to 2020, made by the UK Government.
“In 2016/17 NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s budget will be £270.4 million – an increase of 34.7% since 2006/7.”
“Dumfries and Galloway has already benefitted from SNP spending commitments such substantial investments in the new DGRI and Mid Park.”
An extra £90 million investment in the affordable housing supply also represents the first step in meeting the SNP government’s commitment to build 50,000 new affordable homes by 2020/21.
To date 1184 housing association homes have been built in the region under the SNP.
Mr Swinney also announced continued investment in 600 hours of free high-quality early learning and childcare for all three and four year olds and vulnerable two year olds - this will double to 1140 hours by the end of the next Parliament.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“Early years are a crucial time for a child’s development and it is great to see the SNP committing to double the amount of early learning and childcare – with £500 million already provided to local authorities to facilitate expansion since 2014.
“This week’s budget is one that the SNP can be proud to stand on – and shows that the SNP in government is getting on with the job of delivering for Scotland.”