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Budget (Scotland) (No 4) Bill: Stage 3

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

The debate is our third in a week on the budget and related matters. The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, and Opposition spokespeople need a stamina award for the effort that they have put in.

It is always a challenge to find new issues to raise at this stage, but I want to sum up a number of points that members have made.

It is worth reiterating that the backdrop to the budget is a 3.7 per cent real-terms increase in the resource budget that is available to the Scottish Government, thanks to increases in spending at Westminster. That translates into around an extra £1.6 billion in real, hard cash at the Scottish Government’s disposal. However, one consequence of the budget decisions that have been taken by the Scottish Government—backed up by the Greens, as we know—is that we are still seeing real cuts to local council services across Scotland. Graham Simpson and James Kelly have made that point.