MSPs BACK INCREASED INVESTMENT IN FALKIRK DISTRICT

The Scottish Government’s budget proposals, which will give a cash boost to vital public services in Falkirk district and offer economic stability in the face of Brexit uncertainty, have been backed by a majority of MSPs.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay’s spending plans for 2019-20 were approved by 67 votes to 58 on Thursday afternoon, with SNP and Green MSPs backing the Budget Bill after an initial debate. A final vote on the Bill is due to take place on February 21.

The budget is proposing additional funding of almost £730million for Scotland’s health and care services, including a 4% increase in funding for NHS Forth Valley from £506.8million in 2018-19 to £527million.

And it was announced yesterday that councils will be given an additional £90million in funding on top of a total overall settlement of £11.1billion announced in December, with Falkirk Council receiving a £2.6million share of the extra cash.

The budget also includes £180million to raise attainment in schools and almost £500million for the expansion of early learning and childcare.

Welcoming the result of the vote at Holyrood, Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “Despite Westminster cuts of almost £2billion to Scotland’s block resource grant over the last decade, the SNP Government continues to protect our public services, support our economy and build a fairer society.

“The budget uses our tax powers in a progressive way in order to invest in vital services – with our NHS, in particular, receiving a significant funding boost.

“It will also help to strengthen our economy, with more than £5billion of capital investment in Scotland’s infrastructure, £130million set aside for the establishment of a Scottish National Investment Bank and a £50million fund to support our town centres.”