Draft Budget 2014-15

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th December 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

I will address some of the issues that members have raised during the debate.

Iain Gray has made it absolutely clear that his view of the budget priorities is that the Scottish Government has to use the consequentials that we have received from the United Kingdom to extend the availability of childcare. I assume that we also have to find other resources from other areas of the budget to mitigate all the impacts of the bedroom tax. Mr Gray has clearly put on record the Labour Party’s priorities.

Most Labour members were reasonably on message today on that question, although Anne McTaggart made the case for more money for local government. I was in the chamber for First Minister’s question time today when I heard Johann Lamont marshalling an argument about a lack of staff in the health service in Scotland. If we are to have more staff in the health service in Scotland, I presume that they will have to be paid, and if they have to be paid, more money will have to go into the health service.

I delicately suggest that, if there is to be an iron discipline around childcare provision and the bedroom tax, the Labour Party needs to be a tad more disciplined about the propositions that it brings to Parliament on a daily basis.