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Scottish Budget 2016 to be delivered next week

Scotland’s spending priorities will be outlined next week by Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary, John Swinney, who will deliver the nation’s Budget on Wednesday 16th December.

The Deputy First Minister will unveil a “bold, ambitious budget for the future”, with the aim of having an approved Scottish Budget in place by the beginning of the next financial year.

The Scottish Government’s budget timing will allow for the longest possible opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny, including its latest plans for Scottish taxpayers.

“I am determined that measures brought forward in my budget will demonstrate the Scottish Government’s commitment to do everything within our power and means to protect the most vulnerable from the UK Government’s austerity approach,” said Swinney.

“We have been clear as a government that we will tackle inequality through economic growth, and my budget will advance that vision.

“In years to come, the additional responsibilities we will get through the Scotland Bill will enable this, and future Scottish Governments, to take a distinctive approach to the challenges we face, to design policies and programmes that align with our vision of a stronger, wealthier and fairer society.

“This government has used the tax powers we have to support those on low incomes, such as removing tax on buying a home from the 50 per cent of people at the bottom of the market.

“When we set out our tax plans they will be driven by our principles of establishing a system that is fair and progressive.”

The Scottish economy has come under scrutiny this week after a major report from Ernst and Young regarded it as lagging behind the rest of the UK with an “unsustainable” reliance on major building projects to prop up growth.

Growth in the Scottish economy has been revised down from 2.2 per cent to 1.9 per cent for 2015 and 1.8 per cent in 2016 – compared with UK growth of 2.5 per cent and 2.4 per cent over the same period.

The Scottish Government will be expected to address the situation - which has seen the country’s services sector underperform in comparison with the rest of the UK by a “wide margin” – in next week’s 2016-17 Budget.

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