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Barnett Consequentials (Mental Health Spending)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 14th January 2016.

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Photo of Jim Hume Jim Hume Liberal Democrat

7. To ask the Scottish Government what Barnett consequentials will arise from the £600 million increase in mental health spending announced in the recent spending review, and how the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy plans to allocate this. (S4O-05260)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

At a spending review, Barnett consequentials are determined on a departmental level as opposed to a programme level. It is therefore not possible to isolate the financial impact of individual spending decisions, although any consequentials from expenditure on mental health in England will be reflected in the Scottish Government’s total budget announced in the spending review.

Last year we announced investment of £100 million to improve mental health services over the next five years. The draft budget 2016-17 provides an additional £50 million, which results in a total package of £150 million. On Tuesday the First Minister announced that £54.1 million—over one third of that package—will be invested over the next four years to provide support to boards to meet waiting times targets by investing in workforce development, recruitment and retention, and service improvement support.

Photo of Jim Hume Jim Hume Liberal Democrat

I thank the cabinet secretary for his response, but we must insist that we take the spending in context. The percentage of national health service expenditure in Scotland that relates to mental health has been falling since 2009. Child and adolescent mental health services receive about 0.45 per cent of the total NHS budget in Scotland, compared with 0.7 per cent in England. Therefore, will the cabinet secretary recognise that children and adolescent mental health services are underfunded and underresourced? Does he accept that the additional £10 million a year for mental health that he has announced is not going to deliver the step change that we desperately need?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

The Government and I acknowledge the importance of ensuring that we have in place effective mental health services in the country. We particularly acknowledge that child and adolescent mental health services must meet the needs of individuals in our society. It is for those reasons that the Government has increased the resources that are available to mental health services, to ensure that we can fulfil the expectations that members of the public rightly have. There is provision for that improvement in the budget that I put to the Parliament in December.