Michael Matheson MSP has hailed the Scottish Government’s budget as a strong package of support for public services and jobs in Falkirk district.
Millions more will be spent on schools and there will be record investment in the NHS after MSPs passed the 2017-18 Budget Bill by 68 to 57 votes.
Mr Matheson, the MSP for Falkirk West, said: “While the Tory Government in London stick to their doomed austerity policies, the SNP Government will invest an additional £900million in public services across Scotland despite extreme budgetary pressure from Westminster.
“NHS Forth Valley will benefit from the record £304million extra investment in our health service, more than £3.5million will go directly to schools across Falkirk district to help close the attainment gap, and there will be extra funding for Forth Valley College. Falkirk Council will receive nearly £4.6million in additional funding, which will protect local services.
“This is also a budget that will support economic growth, with £4billion of infrastructure investment, including the continued electrification of the rail network serving Falkirk, and the extension of the Small Business Bonus Scheme, which means 100,000 small and medium-sized firms across Scotland will pay no business rates.
“Add to this the continued free personal care for the elderly, no prescription charges and free higher education and it’s clear that taxpayers get a far better deal for their money in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK.”
Mr Matheson slammed Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MSPs for voting against the budget last Thursday.
He said: “The Scottish Government’s budget is a fair and balanced set of tax and spending proposals but, maybe not surprisingly, the Tories have decided to fight the corner of the highest earners, who will be asked to pay a little bit more.
“Meanwhile, Labour and the Lib Dems wanted to increase income tax across the board, which would have passed the burden of Tory austerity to struggling working families and pensioners.”