John Swinney admits ‘bleak’ Budget as he points to public services reform

John Swinney admits ‘bleak’ Budget as he points to public services reform

Stellvertretender Erster Minister John Swinney <i>(Image: PA)</i>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/” data-135325dc27fd” “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/>353fd25f1”</div></div></div><p><figcaption class=Deputy First Minister John Swinney (Image: PA)

Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney has admitted his draft of Scotland’s budget is “dismal” as he acknowledged key public services are likely to need reform.

Mr Swinney – who is also the country’s acting finance minister – this week presented the Scottish Government’s tax and spending plans, with a focus on the NHS and social security.

He announced that people earning more than £43,662 would pay more tax as the higher tax rate was raised from 41p to 42p, while the top tax threshold was lowered to £125,140 while the tax rate went from 46p to 47p rose.

In the wake of the budget, council leaders condemned it, claiming it could shut down some public services and put thousands of jobs at risk.

Local authority Cosla said Mr Swinney’s vaunted £550m increase in community funding actually amounted to just £71m.

READ MORE: John Swinney warned the budget represents ‘socially damaging cuts’ for councils

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Show, Mr Swinney said: “I gave Parliament a pretty grim picture, to be honest, on Thursday.

“It was an explanation of the very real difficulties we find ourselves in as a result of some global issues that we often feel are far from us, but on this occasion the war in Ukraine has the energy – and price inflation done right at the heart of our economy and public services – compounded by some of the major strategic mistakes made in the UK around Brexit and the mini-budget in early September.”

He added: “I think anyone watching my budget statement on Thursday would recognize that I gave a fairly honest and candid explanation of the scale of the difficulties we are facing.”

Speaking to the same programme, Cosla resources spokeswoman Katie Hagmann said there was “general disappointment” with the deal for local government, adding that councils were “desperately trying to protect frontline services”. .

Mr Swinney also said that due to financial pressures, the country should be ready to reform public services to save money.

“The financial pressure on all of us due to inflation is so great that we need to change the way we deliver public services,” he said.

Referring to reports that the household was a left-wing one, Mr Swinney said it was “right for the time”.

“We are facing acute challenges, it took bold action and that’s what I did on Thursday,” he added.

Scottish Labor finance spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “It is all too clear that John Swinney has no connection with Scotland.

“Even SNP councilors are calling out their own party for not supporting the councils after 15 years of brutal cuts.

“Although John Swinney claims to oppose austerity, he is foisting it on local government – ​​leaving local governments across the country decimated.

“Jobs, services and communities are at stake because of SNP cuts.

“The people of Scotland deserve so much better than this failing, tired SNP government.”

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