A budget for Scotland’s economy
Today, I brought to Parliament a budget for Scotland’s economy, designed to deliver growth and jobs.
UK GDP has now fallen for three consecutive quarters, driven by a sharp fall in the construction sector – economic data which reinforces the cast the Scottish Government continues to make, that we require a different strategy from the UK Government and that capital investment is needed to provide an immediate short-term stimulus.
Global economic conditions continue to impact on economic confidence. Business investment remains considerably below pre-recession levels, and household income remains under pressure.
I am therefore focussed on enhancing confidence in order to encourage private sector investment and growth.
That’s why today I made a number of spending announcements to support our immediate priorities of boosting capital investment, taking direct action to tackle unemployment, and continuing to enhance confidence by encouraging private sector investment.
I have announced further capital investment in affordable housing of more than £40 million over this Autumn and 2013-14, and increased the number of schools being built throughScotland’s Schools for the Future programme, which will help construction firms all overScotland.
I have announced a total of £30 million of funding over this year and 2013-14 for a programme of energy efficiency measures to tackle fuel poverty, contribute to meeting our climate change targets and provide opportunities for small and medium sized construction firms.
Our continued No Compulsory Redundancy policy for public sector staff, combined with a modest 1 per cent pay rise, will help to boost economic confidence and support jobs and activity across the economy.
I have allocated resources to support the creation of skills for a diverse Scottish Energy Economy in oil and gas, renewables, thermal generation and carbon capture and storage.
And we will assist in the creation of 10,000 jobs for young people in the private sector.
The Draft Budget I published today honours this Government’s commitments to the people of Scotland and, within tight parameters, provides for additional measures to support economic recovery.
I understand that this is a challenging time for many businesses. But in today’s budget I confirmed, once again, that this Government will do all it can to focus our resources on driving forward Scotland’s economy.