Wednesday, 9 February 2011
GIBSON WELCOMES PASSING OF BUDGET
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has welcomed the passing of the SNP Scottish Governments budget. Whilst condemning the Labour party who voted against it.
Mr Gibson said that in the tough times Finance Secretary John Swinney had delivered a fair deal which will see a freeze in Council Tax, the axing of prescription charges and funding for
a record number of apprentices.
Mr Gibson also said that the key aspects of the deal include a £2m boost for the freight facilities grant, a further £15 million for college bursaries as well as an extra £8 million
in funding to support an additional 1200 places.
There was also the announcement of a Post Office diversification scheme. Small businesses will further benefit from Funding to continue the SNP’s flagship Small Business Bonus Scheme, removing 64,000 small businesses from business rates and saving them up to £4,100.
Further key announcements were; Funding to implement a living wage of £7.15 an hour for staff whose pay is controlled by the Scottish Government, and a minimum increase of £250 for staff earning under £21000, £70 million Renewables Infrastructure Fund (over four years) and £10 million support for SME employment creation – focused on new starts, sole traders and small firms to take on new employees by assisting with employment and recruitment costs and assist with exports.
Mr Gibson said
"This is a fair budget in tough economic times that will help people and business at the same time. It will help every part of the Highlands and Islands, on the road to economic
regeneration, whilst cutting the people some slack.."
Jobs and fairness are at the heart of the budget. The SNP's commitment to giving everyone a fair deal is evident."
"The rail freight grant is of special importance as it could see more freight been moved by rail or by sea freeing up trunk road capacity. A fund for a living wage, as well as renewed
investment in the renewables industry, will help people and give a solid future for people in many remote and rural areas."
Commenting on Labour's opposition Mr Gibson said….
"Unfortunately Labour put party politics ahead of fairness and economic regeneration. This budget will see a record 25,000 apprentices, (a record amount for the country) something that
will give hope to young people and those recently struggling to find work and something that the Labour Party used to support.
However I see no reason why they should abandon their principles in such a hypocritical manner. They will have to answer to voters why they voted against measures they supported before."
"Other opposition parties were constructive in their negotiations with the Scottish Government over the budget except the Greens. Compromise sometimes gives the best results, out and out opposition is not always the best or most grown up way of doing things."
Contact rob 0787 967 4335
Note key points o the budget which was passed today
• Invest a further £11.5 million to create 25,000 modern apprenticeship places - a record high for Scotland and 60% more than under Labour’s last year (07/08).
• Continued funding for council tax freeze – by the end of next year the average Band D family will have saved £322 since the SNP introduced the freeze.
• Funding to continue and uplift the SNP’s flagship Small Business Bonus Scheme, removing 64,000 small businesses from business rates and saving them up to £4,100.
• Funding to abolish prescription charges.
• Provide 7,000 flexible training opportunities for SMEs - 2,000 more than originally planned in the draft Budget
• Invest £8 million to provide enough funding for an extra 1,200 college places
• Invest an additional £15 million across 2010-11 and 2011-12 in funding for college bursaries;
• Maintain educational grants for pupils and college students most in need which were cut south of the border;
• Guarantee a probation place for every newly-qualified teacher and provide enough teaching jobs for every post-probationer in 2011-12;
• New Early Years and Early Intervention Fund, with start-up funding of £5 million;
• £10 million support for SME employment creation – focused on new starts, sole traders and small firms to take on new employees by assisting with employment and recruitment costs and assist with exports;
• £2m Freight Facilities Grant;
• £1m Post office Diversification Scheme;
• £12.5 million for Urban Regeneration Companies – increase of £6 million on the Draft budget;
• £16 million further investment in Housing;
• Funding to maintain 1,000 additional police officers;
• The creation of a £70m ‘change fund’ to help local authorities and health boards deal with the rising costs of providing social care. This is a precursor to plans to further integrate the two.
• Continuing our £2.5 billion infrastructure investment programme;
• Infrastructure Commitments such as the new Forth crossing, New South Glasgow Hospitals project and school building programme
• £70 million Renewables Infrastructure Fund – over four years;
• £48 million support for energy assistance package and Home Insulation Scheme.
• Funding to implement a living wage of £7.15 an hour for staff whose pay is controlled by the Scottish Government, and a minimum increase of £250 for staff earning under £21000.