Tag Archives: scottish budget

Rennie warns of budget cuts to councils and health boards

Speaking ahead of the Scottish Parliament debate on the Budget, Willie Rennie set out the Liberal Democrat priorities of investment in education and mental health. The SNP Finance Minister has not made good on a promise to provide funding for inter-island ferries in the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland.

The Budget needs to do more to meet the long term needs of the economy.

It should invest in people through education and mental health. We have a fully costed plan to make that happen.

We have yet to hear how the SNP are going to change the Budget to make sure

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Rennie: Scottish Budget a “missed opportunity”

Today was an historic day. Twenty years and three months ago, the Scottish people voted to have a Scottish Parliament with tax raising powers.

In his annual Budget, Scottish Finance Minister Derek Mackay increased the basic rate of income tax to 21p for those earning above £24,000. He also decreased it to 19p for the lowest earners up to £13,850. He put up the higher rate to 41p and the top rate to 46p.

It’s all pretty modest and it represents the sort of moves we were calling for in the Scottish elections last year and since. We wanted to see the money brought in put into education to make what Willie Rennie calls a “transformative”investment.

So we’re not going to complain about the idea of tax rises in principle. However, Derek Mackay is getting a world of pain from the Tories because the SNP said in their manifesto that they wouldn’t raise the basic rate of income tax. They were pretty scathing about our plans during the campaign and there are a whole load of words they said that are coming back to haunt them now.

They could have saved themselves that grief by ceding the principle last year.

Anyway, that is their problem to deal with. The Budget is a pretty modest affair. It’s certainly not the sort of budget to deal with a struggling health service, unfit for purpose education system and a housing crisis that keeps getting worse.

Willie Rennie had this to say:

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Willie Rennie’s masterclass in what to do when you say something you shouldn’t

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie was interviewed today on Sunday Politics Scotland. Like Tim Farron earlier, he made some excellent points on the issues of the day.

This week, it looks as though the SNP could fail to get their budget through. The SNP does not have a majority at Holyrood. The Greens are pushing them for a 60% tax rate, which finance minister Derek Mackay has ruled out. Willie has been talking to Derek Mackay for weeks now and has made clear that unless he is prepared to put in significant investment in mental health and education, then the Liberal Democrats won’t support it.

Willie made that point very clearly in the interview, coming across very reasonably. You can watch the whole thing here towards the end of the programme.

It was when he was asked about the possibility of an election, that he made a wee slip of the tongue, though. We know that he loves campaigning. Remember the fun he had in last year’s election.. Unfortunately, rather than saying “I love campaigning”, he said “I love myself.” Believe me, those of us who work closely with him will make sure he never hears the end of that one.

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