Reaction to Swinney budget generally positive amongst key stakeholders

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Following the publication of the Scottish Draft Budget this afternoon, a variety of stakeholders have welcomed the efforts to protect vital services and economic recovery, in the face of Westminster cuts to the Scottish budget.

Mr Swinney unveiled the budget today claiming the spending plans were targeted at jobs and the economy.

In what was generally a positive response to the Finance Secretary’s speech, several key stakeholders gave their own opinion on the Scottish Government’s fiscal plans.
 
Robin Parker – President of NUS Scotland (Via Twitter) 

Plans to protect college places very welcome … Have to recognise that budget day delivers best student support package in UK, with Higher Education minimum income of £7,250; EMA protected; no tuition fees

Scottish Police Federation (Via Twitter)

Well done John Swinney for recognising importance of police by providing funding to maintain record numbers in his budget today

Stuart Housden – Director RSPB Scotland (Via Twitter)

Good to see John Swinney outline Scottish Government spending on peatland restoration – for climate & biodiversity benefits 

SAMH – Scottish Association for Mental Health

Good news in Scottish Budget re £23m to mitigate impact of UK welfare reform:..

Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary (Release)

“…the UK coalition Government’s dangerously irresponsible economic strategy has placed the Scottish Government in a very difficult position and that Mr Swinney has endeavoured throughout the crisis to do what he can to stimulate the Scottish economy.

Andy Willox, Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Scottish Policy Convenor (Release)

“Having highlighted the need to support the private sector to create new jobs on the scale now required, we welcome the £15m youth employment initiative … New capital spending is good…
 
“It is great news that the lifeline small business rates relief package has been retained. Similarly, business rate incentives to encourage commercial landlords to get empty premises back into use will be welcomed on the high street.  When other overheads such as utilities and fuel are really cranking up the pressure on our small retailers, any help in reducing running costs gives businesses vital breathing space.”

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce (Release)

“Scottish businesses welcome John Swinney’s stated objective of prioritising economic growth … welcome the continued focus that the Government places on the maximisation of capital spending and infrastructure investment….

CBI Scotland Assistant Director David Lonsdale (PA Copy)

“…a number of positive announcements of construction, tourism, skills and incentives for firms to recruit young people….”

Michael Levack, chief executive of the Scottish Building Federation (PA Copy)

“The additional boost the Cabinet Secretary has given to the capital budget today is hugely welcome.”

But he said more action is needed from Westminster.

“Despite Mr Swinney’s efforts, Scotland still faces a cut in capital investment of around £5.5 billion, or 24%, over the period 2009-10 to 2014-15. The UK Government must do more to rectify this situation and demonstrate its own commitment to stimulating economic recovery.”