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Draft Budget 2014-15

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

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Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

I am not questioning the comments; I am explaining the comments. The chief secretary is technically correct: what I do with the block grant is a matter for the Scottish Government, and I can give local government as much money as I want. However, if I wish to compensate individuals for the implications of the bedroom tax, the only legal mechanism I have to do that is through discretionary housing payments, for which the law of the United Kingdom says that the most that we can contribute—the most that a local authority, not the Scottish Government can contribute—is £20 million. Those comments are not meant to be obstructive; they are an explanation of the legal position as I am advised of it.